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Thunder report card: As and Bs all around for OKC

By Berry Tramel, Staff Writer, btramel@opubco.com Published: April 20, 2011
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/articleid/3560700/1/pictures/1398750">Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) shoots in over Denver's Ty Lawson (3) during the first round NBA basketball playoff game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at the Oklahoma City Arena. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) shoots in over Denver's Ty Lawson (3) during the first round NBA basketball playoff game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at the Oklahoma City Arena. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Killer instinct: B. The Thunder got up 43-17, then kept allowing the Nuggets to believe they could rally. The Thunder lead never fell to single digits. But Perkins said, “You're supposed to step on their throat, go up 40 or 50.”

Bench spirit: A. Cole Aldrich dancing in his three-piece suit just before tipoff embodies the carefree nature of the Thunder. They're loose and loaded.

B Team: B. Scotty Brooks' junior varsity — five non-starters playing together — was spectacular early in the second quarter, turning a 31-15 lead into 43-17 blowout. But Denver rallied to within 43-24 before Brooks re-inserted Durant and Westbrook. And the B team was outscored 4-0 to start the fourth quarter before Brooks summoned Durant's return.

Athletic display: A. Thabo Sefolosha's whirling, driving layup midway through the first quarter keyed a 16-1 Thunder run. Then Westbrook's scrambling, twisting, don't-forget-the-ball driving scoop shop, starting from beyond midcourt and going through and around and over three Nuggets, thrilled the crowd.


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