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Thunder-Spurs Report Card: Grading OKC's 122-105 loss in Game 1

REPORT CARD — The Thunder’s defense wasn’t the only thing that merit low grades in this Western Conference Finals opener.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 19, 2014

The Spurs routed the Thunder 122-105 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, and it was hard to find a silver lining when grading the Thunder.

Finding Durant: D. Kevin Durant was hot early. Really hot. In the first 12 1/2 minutes of the game, Durant made all four of his shots, all three of his foul shots and had two assists. But that’s as much an indictment of the Thunder offense as an endorsement. Durant needs more than four shots a quarter. Kawhi Leonard did an excellent job guarding Durant. The Thunder can’t allow that. Durant sat out five minutes of the second quarter, and when he returned, he got just three shots in six minutes. Seven shots in the first half won’t cut it.

Defending Duncan: D. Tim Duncan made 23 of 53 shots against the Thunder in four regular-season games. But in Game 1, Duncan made seven of his first eight shots, in his first nine minutes of court time. Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison and Steven Adams all were torched by Duncan, who by halftime had 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting. In the third quarter, Perkins did a much better job on Duncan, who missed his first five shots of the second half. But the damage was done. Duncan finished with 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting.

Starting lineup: C. Scotty Brooks started Collison in place of Serge Ibaka. The starting lineup played the first 6:34 of the game and the first 8:58 of the third quarter. Collison and Thabo Sefolosha exited together both times, and neither returned the rest of the half. In the first quarter, the Spurs outscored the Thunder starters 18-7. In the third quarter, that fivesome played much better defense and outscored the Spurs 19-15 to help OKC get back in the game. The Spurs made just five of 17 shots against the Thunder starters in the third quarter, after making nine of 14 to open the game.

Girl power: A. The halftime act, an all-female mariachi band, was great fun. Maybe locals grow weary of the mariachi stuff, but it was great music, including a medley that included “The Eyes of Texas,” “Yellow Rose of Texas” and “San Antonio Rose.”

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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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