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Thunder-Spurs Report Card: Bench outperforms starters in OKC's Game 2 loss

A 112-77 loss. A fourth quarter that was nothing more than a junior varsity game. This was among the worst and most embarrassing defeats in Thunder history. And the grades reflect it.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 21, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) looks towards an official during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) looks towards an official during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Halftime act: D. The local mariachi band in Game 1 was great. But do the Spurs have something against the national acts that tour NBA arenas, even in the playoffs? An in-house band, Silver and Black Attack, performed at halftime. An electric guitarist and a drummer, both wearing masks that were straight out of professional wrestling, circa 1969. Makes you long for Red Panda.

Small ball: C. Through the only three quarters that mattered, the Thunder played a small lineup for 19:01 and was outscored 41-37. On this night, that would have been cause to throw a Thunder parade. In the first half, the Thunder’s small lineup, with Adams the only big man, outscored the Spurs 23-19 in 10 minutes of action. But in the third quarter, the small lineup threw gasoline on the fire. Brooks went to the lineup with the Thunder down 67-48 barely three minutes into the second half. The Spurs outscored OKC 24-14 the rest of the third quarter. San Antonio outscored the Thunder 9-2 with Perkins in the small lineup, then outscored the Thunder 15-12 with Adams the lone big.

Basket protection: C. The Spurs still got too many points in the paint – 40 through three quarters; 54 if you count points off foul shots – but the Thunder did a better job of contesting. The Spurs made 20 of 31 shots in the paint through three quarters. In shots from right under the basket, the Spurs made 14 of 22 (the Thunder made 13 of 26). That’s still not good, but it’s better than in Game 1. Tim Duncan made just five of 12 shots.

Bench: B. The Spurs supposedly have the better depth, but through two games, the Thunder reserves are more than holding their own. OKC’s bench outscored the Spurs’ 43-42, and if you want to throw out Jeremy Lamb’s 13-point fourth quarter and just count the first three quarters, the Thunder reserves still outscored the Spurs’ 28-24. Caron Butler, Reggie Jackson and Adams combined to score 26 points on 12-of-20 shooting. This game was on the starters.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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