After two sordid performances in San Antonio, the Thunder produced a commanding victory in Game 3 against the Spurs, and the grades reflect the Thunder domination:
Aggression: A. The Thunder attacked the basket much more than in the first two games of the series. That aggression changed the game in the third quarter. The Thunder offense wasn’t great in that period – OKC made just four of 17 shots and had only two baskets in the final 9:25 of the quarter. But the Thunder took 22 foul shots in the quarter, making 18. The Spurs shot zero foul shots in the quarter. And the Thunder expanded its lead from 57-53 to 83-76. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant each went 8-of-8 from the line in Game 3. They had combined for just 17 attempts the first two games.
Killer instinct: A. When the Spurs smelled blood in San Antonio, they pounced. The Thunder did the same in Game 3. Leading by seven points to start the fourth quarter, the Thunder scored on its first three possessions of the period – a Reggie Jackson drive, a Durant runner and a Caron Butler 3-pointer – and led by 14. The Spurs never got closer than nine the rest of the way, and the Thunder led by as many as 20.
Rebounding: B. The Spurs had 16 offensive rebounds, leading to 18 second-chance points. San Antonio had 16 second-chance points through three quarters, which is what kept this game as close as it was. But the Thunder countered with 16 offensive rebounds of its own, leading to 15 second-chance points. Six Boomers had multiple offensive rebounds, led by Durant and Westbrook with three each.
National anthem: A. Oklahoma City cellist Sam Kahre, 15, played an instrumental “Star-Spangled Banner,” and it was over the moon great. Singers are fine. Musicians always are better. And great musicians are best.