Thunder report card: High grades for Russell Westbrook, but not not much else
The Thunder got down early, made it a game late and fell short, losing to Portland 104-99 Sunday in Game 1 of a Western Conference playoff series, and the grades reflect a shaky a first-round.
C. The Thunder was lost defensively in the first quarter, when the Blazers made seven of 10 3-pointers and scored 39 points. The rest of the game, the Thunder was much stingier, allowing Portland only 15 3-point shots over the final three quarters, making just four. But the damage was done.
F. Yes, Paul George was ineffective, making just four of 15 3-point shots. But at least he made four. His teammates combined to make one. The non-George Thunder shooters were a combined 1-of-18 from deep. Dennis Schroder was 0-of-7, Russell Westbrook was 0-of-4, Jerami Grant was 0-of-3. Only Terrance Ferguson (1-of-2) joined George in making a long ball.
A. The Thunder wasted an excellent performance by Westbrook, who had a no-surprise triple double – 24 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists – but also played a solid floor game, with quality decisions and only four turnovers. Even Westbrook’s defense was mostly solid. Westbrook also held his emotions mostly in check, unlike many of his encounters with Blazer counterpart Damian Lillard.
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C. Westbrook attacked with abandon – nine of his 17 shots were taken from the restricted area, and he also was fouled four times on drives. But the rest of the Thunder settled too much, launching 29 3-points (plus Westbrook’s four). And when the Thunder was aggressive, it wasn’t always wise. OKC was called for five offensive fouls in a 13-minute span of the middle quarters.
B. Don’t be fooled by Enes Kanter’s 18 rebounds. The Thunder still did a good job on the boards. Portland outshot OKC, 41.9 percent to 39.8 percent, yet the Thunder outrebounded the Blazers 49-48 and outscored Portland 21-14 in second-chance points. In the final two minutes, the Thunder was hurt by Kanter offensive rebounds on three straight possessions, though Portland scored off only one of the extra possessions.
B. The beleaguered Thunder bench was solid, despite a rough game from Schroder, who made just five of 17 shots. The Thunder bench outscored Portland’s bench 21-18 and held up when Billy Donovan rested multiple starters. The Thunder was outscored by six points in Schroder’s 36 minutes, but OKC was plus-8 in Markieff Morris’ 13 1/2 minutes, plus-8 in Nerlens Noel’s 12 minutes and plus-5 in Raymond Felton’s 11 minutes. Noel had eight points and six rebounds.