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Oklahoma City Thunder report card: Thunder defense shines in first quarter

The Thunder played some good offense and some great defense, which is how you win a playoff game 120-91. Our grades reflect such a blowout.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 22, 2013

Starters: A. Rarely has the Thunder starting lineup been so dominant. The only time Houston made a run, it came with mostly reserves on the court. The Thunder starters had monster plus/minus numbers — OKC outscored Houston by 34 points with Durant on the court, by 29 with Russell Westbrook, by 26 with Ibaka, by 24 with Perkins and by 21 with Thabo Sefolosha. It hardly mattered that the Thunder bench was not particularly effective.

Halftime entertainment: A. Usually, dog acts don't do much for me. But the Olate Dogs, 2012 winners of America's Got Talent, were amazing. Jumping rope, riding a scooter, hopping over barriers on their hind legs, doing back flips, climbing ladders to slide down a slide? Teach those dogs to shoot foul shots, and they could play for a team or two in the Eastern Conference.

Ball movement: A. The Thunder had 28 assists. Westbrook had 10 through three quarters, and three of his four teammates — Durant, Nick Collison, Reggie Jackson — had four each. The Thunder does not lose when it gets into the 28-assist range.

Slump-busting: A. The Thunder missed 13 of its first 18 shots — then made 28 of its next 46 shots and took an 89-66 lead after three quarters, which made the fourth quarter a breeze.

by Berry Tramel
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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