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Thunder report card: Offense down the stretch gets an A

How the Thunder and its followers fared during Game 1 of the NBA playoffs' first round.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 28, 2012

OFFENSE DOWN THE STRETCH: A. The Thunder never got in a great rhythm, but they willed an offense by attacking the basket. The Thunder scored on 11 of its last 15 possessions. The Thunder had just 11 foul shots with 61/2 minutes left in the game but made nine of nine the rest of the way, including three three-point plays.

LATE-GAME STRATEGY: A. Scotty Brooks switched Kendrick Perkins onto Dirk Nowitzki in the final two minutes, and Perk prompted Nowitzki into a miss and a steal, keying the Thunder comeback. Moving Russell Westbrook onto Jason Terry for much of the fourth quarter also helped; Terry didn't take a shot in the final 10 minutes.

EARLY GAME STRATEGY: C. Brooks didn't play Thabo Sefolosha much when Terry was on the court – their rotations never have aligned – and two early fouls on Sefolosha didn't help. But in this series, Sefolosha is going to have guard Terry more. Terry made eight of nine shots through three quarters and had 20 points, though he didn't score in the fourth. Sefolosha played just 18 minutes.

HALFTIME ACT: D. I'm sure bucket drummer Peter Rabbit kept a good beat. But bucket drummers rank about as high as trampoline dunkers on the entertainment scale.

HANDLING DISCOURAGEMENT: A. After the first six minutes or so, the Thunder led for just 134 seconds. That's a long time to play from behind. But the Thunder never let Dallas get on too big of a run and always stayed close. The biggest lead for the Mavs was eight. Biggest lead for the Thunder was four, in the first three minutes.

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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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