Thunder-Spurs Report Card: Defensive intensity earns OKC high marks

What a performance. The Thunder dominated most of the game and won by blowout for the second straight time. And the grades reflect such a showing.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 27, 2014


photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant blocks the shot of San Antonio's Tony Parker during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant blocks the shot of San Antonio's Tony Parker during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

What a performance. The Thunder dominated most of the game and won by blowout for the second straight time. And the grades reflect such a showing.

Rim protection: A. The Thunder blocked eight shots. Gregg Popovich said, somewhat seriously, he should have passed around a picture of Serge Ibaka so that the Spurs would know who to avoid. But Ibaka blocked only three shots. Kendrick Perkins blocked two. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams blocked one each. Even better, seven of the eight blocks were rebounded by the Thunder, leading to 10 OKC points. Six points were off fastbreaks. Good as turnovers. The Thunder outscored the Spurs 44-36 in the paint, 52-44 if you count foul shots. But those points came at a cost for San Antonio – it made just 18 of 40 shots from the lane. The Thunder made 22 of 31.

Defensive intensity: A. With 8:45 left in the game, the Spurs had 12 assists and the Thunder had 12 steals. That’s all you need to know. Westbrook locked in on Tony Parker, who was playing well but was given little room. The Thunder made life miserable on the inside; Tim Duncan made just three of eight shots. The 3-point line was well-guarded – the Spurs made nine of 27 from beyond the arc.

Three-point shooting: A. The Thunder did two things. 1) Didn’t take too many threes (16). 2) Made an excellent percentage, 43.8 (seven of 16). Durant and Westbrook were a combined four of nine. Jeremy Lamb, Derek Fisher and Reggie Jackson each hit a trey.

Halftime act: A. The jump-rope team, the Electrick Jumpers, performed a variety of amazing stunts. Jump ropes don’t seem to be in fashion anymore, but maybe they ought to be.

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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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