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Thunder-Spurs: Grading OKC's 102-82 victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals

REPORT CARD — Switching Thabo Sefolosha onto Tony Parker, going big and taking care of the ball set the curve for the Thunder.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 31, 2012

Big Lineup: A. So much for the demise of the Thunder's big lineup. Scotty Brooks used a small lineup the majority of the game, but the big lineup was particularly effective. In 19 minutes and nine seconds with a big lineup, the Thunder outscored the Spurs 45-30.

Defensive adjustments: A. Putting Thabo Sefolosha on Tony Parker proved to be a masterful stroke. The Spurs' pick-and-roll was a shadow of what we saw in San Antonio. Thabo had four steals in the first three minutes, and though Parker ended up as the productive Spur (16 points, 6-of-12 shooting), some of that came with Derek Fisher or Russell Westbrook on the assignment. Through three quarters, the Spurs had 17 turnovers and 21 baskets.

Hands: A. Has the Thunder ever had more active hands? Fourteen steals, nine blocked shots, maybe 10 more deflections that didn't result in turnovers. The backcourt tandem of Thabo and Russell Westbrook combined for 10 steals and three blocked shots.

Defending Blair: D. Maybe the only downside to the night was the resurrection of the Spurs' DeJuan Blair, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds in a game against OKC in March. Blair, who started 62 games this season, has fallen out of the rotation and didn't even play in the series' first two games. Inserted in Game 3 garbage time, Blair had 10 points and six rebounds in less than 10 minutes. Will Gregg Popovich use him in Game 4?

Defending Duncan: A. Kendrick Perkins proved that consistently frustrating Tim Duncan wasn't coming at the expense of letting Tony Parker and/or Manu Ginobili run free. While the Thunder finally clamped down on Parker and Ginobili, the shutdown of Duncan continued – he made just five of 15 shots and tied a career playoff low with only two rebounds. Duncan in three games has just 38 points total and made just 13 of 48 shots.

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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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