The Thunder took a 3-0 series lead over the Rockets last night with a 104-101 win. This was the first game the Thunder have played without Russell Westbrook in quite a long time, and they managed to hang on for the win. Going up 3-0 is huge for the Thunder because no team has ever come back from that in NBA history.
Kevin Durant- 47 minutes, 41 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists- A+
Durant was awesome in this game for OKC. There is no other word to describe how he played besides awesome. Without Westbrook on the floor, the Thunder offense ran through KD for the entire game. He did not get much help aside from Ibaka late in the game. Durant was pretty much OKC’s only offense and considering that burden, he played amazing. Durant was also a monster in the first quarter going for 17 points and he really set the tone for the game there. He was aggressive and very assertive in what he wanted to do and when KD does that, he is unstoppable.
Serge Ibaka- 31 minutes, 17 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks- A
Ibaka was great in the minutes he played in this game. When I checked the box score at the conclusion of the game I was shocked to see that he played 31 minutes and Nick Collison only played 17. It seemed like Collison played a lot more than that and I thought that was one reason why the Rockets got back into the game. Ibaka brings a solid jump shot to the offense, and he is decent on the offensive glass. He showed this late in the game, and he really helped KD close the deal for the Thunder.
Kevin Martin- 31 minutes, 12 points, 3 assists, 2 steals- C+
With Westbrook being out for the rest of the playoffs, Martin is going to have to play much better than he did last night. Martin should be the third option in this offense behind KD and Ibaka right now, and at times last night it seemed like he wasn’t even on the court. He has to be more aggressive, and take some of the pressure off of KD. He didn’t do this last night and it nearly cost the Thunder the ball game.
Thabo Sefolosha- 42 minutes, 3 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists- B
Thabo was solid last tonight on the defensive end (as always) but he shot very poorly on offense. Once again, he is another guy that will have to shoot better with Russ gone for the playoffs. Thabo gets a lot of open three point looks because of KD’s ability to go to the basket, and he will have to knock some of them down. He was only 1-6 from three last night.
Kendrick Perkins- 16 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist- B-
Perk was virtually a no show to this game. His style just does not fit this series, and I can’t fault him too much for this. I did however like his opening statement to Patrick Beverley with that screen early in the game.
Nick Collison- 17 minutes, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block- C
Collison hasn’t had a very good playoffs so far, and once again he wasn’t very good last night. It seemed that he couldn’t convert easy opportunities under the basket numerous times and his passing wasn’t up to par either.
Reggie Jackson- 25 minutes, 14 points, 2 rebounds, 2 HUGE free throws- A
In Jackson’s first career start, he put up 14 points in only 25 minutes of play, and he made probably the two biggest free throws of his career late in the game. I absolutely loved Jackson’s play last night, he was under control for the most part and he did not crack under pressure when he was put into the game during the crucial moments.
Derek Fisher- 24 minutes, 9 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist- B
I admit that I usually bash Fisher because he is old and unable to be as effective as he used to be, but he was big last night. He hit a couple big shots late, and he also knocked down two important free throws. I will give Fisher this, without Westbrook playing he is the second most clutch guy on the roster behind KD. If KD can’t shoot the free throws at the end of the game, then I want Fisher taking them. There. I gave him some credit.
Scott Brooks- C-
My main issue with Brooks last night was how he used Ibaka and Collison. I think that he left Collison for far too long in key moments in the game. Ibaka is the best rim protector in the game, and he also can be very effective offensively. Collison was just having a bad game and I think Brooks should have spotted that and made the changes quicker.