The Thunder did not look smooth in Game 2 against the Grizzlies, won by Memphis 111-105 in overtime. Of course, Memphis often makes opponents look rough. And the Game 2 grades reflect that.
Combatting Tony Allen: B. For all the angst over Tony Allen’s defense, Kevin Durant still scored 36 points on 12-of-28 shooting, including 5-of-12 from 3-point range. Plus four assists and one turnover. Against Memphis, that’s winning basketball. Too much international distress signal – Durant standing on the wing, raising his arm for a lob pass – but for the most part, Durant’s offense was not the problem.
Pace: C. The Thunder outscored the Grizzlies just 16-10 in fast-break points. In Game 1, that edge was 32-13. Memphis did not allow the Thunder to get out and run. Part of that was yet another game of few turnovers – just six in regulation for Memphis, which meant the Thunder couldn’t get out and run much.
Halftime act: B. 2Cellos, Croation cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, are YouTube sensations, their rendition of “Thunderstruck” having drawn 16 million viewers. Seems like a natural for a Thunder game. And their talent is beyond question. But the entertainment bar is set rather high. Quick Change performed at Game 1. Without 20-foot unicycles or feats of intrigue, hard to keep the crowd riveted.
Bench scoring: D. Beno Udrih, a third-team point guard playing only because Nick Calathes was suspended for the playoffs, equaled the Thunder bench scoring (14 points) all by himself. Derek Fisher was a first-half force with seven points, but Caron Butler, Reggie Jackson and Nick Collison combined for seven points total.
Bear wrestling: C. Zach Randolph started slow but warmed up, which could be harmful to the Thunder’s future health. Randolph made just one of his first five shots but made nine of 15 the rest of the way. Kendrick Perkins often pushed Randolph away from the basket, but Randolph made several long jumpers and finished with 25 points. Marc Gasol was not as efficient, making just six of 15 shots with no offensive rebounds.
Ball security: A. Turnovers are becoming less and less prevalent. The Thunder had just six turnovers in regulation, after committing an acceptable 13 in Game 1. Against Memphis’ stiff defense, the Thunder needs all the shots it can get.
Officiating: B. Referees Ron Garretson, Sean Wright and Mike Callahan called the game, two days after they called the foul-marred Warriors-Clippers Game 1. The NBA issued a statement Sunday that the crew missed a foul call on the Clippers’ Chris Paul in the final minute of a game the Warriors eventually won. But the crew was fine Monday night. Missed some calls, naturally, and I suppose it’s possible the NBA issues a statement that Durant was fouled by Allen on what became a turnover with 21 seconds left in regulation. But in the end, officiating did not decide this game.
Point-guard defense: D. Mike Conley and Beno Udrih combined for 33 points on 13 of 24 shooting, with 14 assists and four turnovers. Conley and Udrih consistently got around Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson. Scotty Brooks went to Thabo Sefolosha to cover Conley late in the game, and that seemed to help.