Thunder report card: B for Serge Ibaka's defense, A for Kevin Durant

Thunder Report Card: How someone who guarded Dirk Nowitzki still made the grade
By BERRY TRAMEL, Columnist, btramel@opubco.com Modified: May 18, 2011 at 12:14 am •  Published: May 17, 2011
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Handing out the grades following the Thunder's 121-112 loss at Dallas in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals:

Serge Ibaka defense: B. I know, sounds crazy, a grade this high for a guy assigned to Dirk Nowitzki on his 48-point night. But look at this way. Nowitzki missed just three shots. All three when guarded by Ibaka, who generally played solid D. Nowitzki had few wide open shots.

Memphis adjustment: D. After a fistfight against the physical Grizzlies, the Thunder-Mavs series began with a ton of foul calls, both ways. The Boomers were so confused, after the game Kevin Durant said the Thunder played too physical, but Thabo Sefolosha said it didn't play physical enough.

Kevin Durant: A. Led the Thunder in rebounding (eight), assists (five), blocked shots (two) and scoring (40 points, on 10-of-18 shooting). Missed leading in steals only because Sefolosha nabbed two to Durant's one.

Scotty Brooks rotations: B. Brooks tried about all he could to slow Nowitzki, considering foul trouble and Nowitzki's lack of cooperation in missing a shot. Brooks wisely scrapped his usual B team insertion to start the fourth quarter, staying with the effective Ibaka.



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