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Oklahoma City Thunder report card: Caron Butler Experiment gets an A

by Berry Tramel Published: May 3, 2014

/articleid/4746080/1/pictures/2562613">Photo - Oklahoma City's Caron Butler (2) reacts to a play during Game 7 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 3, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Caron Butler (2) reacts to a play during Game 7 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 3, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Ball security: D. If the Thunder had taken care of the ball, it might have had a 30-point lead all game long. The Thunder shot 60.9 percent from the field; it made 10 of 18 shots in the first quarter but trailed 36-27 because of seven turnovers. OKC finished with 20 turnovers, including seven by Westbrook and five by Durant. After the first quarter, four of the Thunder’s 13 turnovers were illegal screens.

Small ball: A. Brooks’ first crack at his small-ball lineup did not work — Memphis outscored OKC 12-9 over the final 4:45 of the first quarter, with a lineup of Westbrook, Durant, Jackson, Adams and either Butler or Fisher. But the small lineup of Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, Jackson and Butler ignited a 10-0 run that gave the Thunder a 44-44 tie in the second quarter. The small lineup was effective in the third quarter, outscoring the Grizz 16-13, then in the fourth quarter Brooks went small all 12 minutes, using a variety of lineups, and the Thunder spurted away.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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