Heat vs. Thunder: Grading Every Key Player's Game 1 Performance

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IJune 13, 2012

Heat vs. Thunder: Grading Every Key Player's Game 1 Performance

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    Game 1 of the NBA Finals is in the books as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook outscored the Miami Heat by themselves (41-40) in the second half to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead in the series.

    But not everyone played as well as Durant did on Tuesday night.

    With that in mind, I took a detailed look into the performance of each key player on both teams.

    Here's a look at how each graded out.

Shane Battier

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    Game 1 Stats: 17 points, four rebounds, one steal

    Battier had his best offensive performance of perhaps the entire season, knocking down 6-of-9 shots from the floor, including nailing 4-of-6 shots from behind the arc.

    Most of that came in the first half though as Battier made only one shot in the second half, a three-pointer in the third quarter.

    He didn't do a great job defensively, but without his early production, the Heat probably aren't even in the game to begin with.

    Game 1 Grade: B

LeBron James

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    Game 1 Stats: 30 points, nine rebounds, four assists, four steals, four turnovers

    LBJ played 46 minutes and got off to a good start and statistically it reads as the best NBA Finals performance of his career.

    However he missed six of his final eight shots and scored only seven points the final 14:30 of the game.

    He was shut down by Thabo Sefolosha and you hardly knew he was on the floor in the fourth quarter as the few shot attempts he had were on jumpers.

    Game 1 Grade: B

Udonis Haslem

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    Game 1 Stats: four points, 11 rebounds

    Haslem did very little to contribute on the offensive end, making only 2-of-6 shot attempts in 26 minutes of playing time.

    He did grab 11 rebounds, but if he's in the starting lineup, he has to contribute a little bit more.

    Game 1 Grade: C

Dwyane Wade

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    Game 1 Stats: 19 points, eight assists, four rebounds, three turnovers

    Wade once again didn't play like a superstar for the Heat and struggled big time from the floor, hitting only 7-of-19 shot attempts, never getting into a rhythm at all.

    Miami needed someone to step up and be a second scoring option and Wade wasn't able to deliver.

    He did a nice job facilitating, but for the amount of shots he took, Wade did his best to shoot the Heat out of the game, including only going 4-of-11 in the second half.

    Similar to LBJ, Wade had a lot of problems when being guarded by Sefolosha.

    Game 1 Grade: C-

Mario Chalmers

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    Game 1 Stats: 12 points, six assists

    Chalmers was very efficient from the floor, knocking down 5-of-7 shot attempts, including 2-of-4 shots from behind the arc.

    Despite that fact, he took only one shot the entire second half.

    Yet he took good care of the ball, only turning it over once, and took advantage of his scoring opportunities.

    Chalmers wasn't good defensively, but quite frankly, no one in a Heat uniform was on the night.

    Yet, when the Heat get 29 combined points from Battier and Chalmers, they should win the game. That's something they likely can't count on on a game-to-game basis.

    Game 1 Grade: B+

Chris Bosh

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    Game 1 Stats: 10 points, five rebounds

    Bosh played 34 minutes off the bench, but had very little impact on the game at both ends of the floor.

    The Heat offense is better when it runs through Bosh and it didn't do that last night as he touched the ball only 26 total times.

    Bosh made only 4-of-11 shots on the night and attempted only two free-throws.

    For the Heat to have a chance, Bosh has to play a much bigger role.

    Game 1 Grade: C-

Kevin Durant

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    Game 1 Stats: 36 points, eight rebounds, four assists

    Durant showed the entire world why he's the best closer in the game.

    While LeBron had his quietest fourth quarter in an NBA Finals game, Durant stole the show.

    He scored 17 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and delivered dagger after dagger to any thought of a Miami comeback.

    He made 12-of-20 shots from the floor, including draining 4-of-6 attempts from behind the arc. In addition, Durant was near flawless at the charity-stripe, hitting 8-of-9 attempts.

    Game 1 Grade: A+

Serge Ibaka

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    Game 1 Stats: 10 points, six rebounds

    Ibaka actually didn't block a shot in this one, but he was still a presence in the paint during his 27 minutes as the Heat didn't attack the basket when he was on the floor.

    In addition, he knocked down 5-of-10 shots, which is all the Thunder really need him to do.

    Game 1 Grade: B-

Kendrick Perkins

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    Game 1 Stats: four points, seven rebounds

    Perkins played 25 minutes and did a solid job on the defensive end of the floor.

    He grabbed seven boards and made both shots he attempted. As a role player, Perkins did his job.

    Game 1 Grade: C+

Thabo Sefolosha

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    Game 1 Stats: nine points, two assists, two steals

    Who would have thought before the season began that Sefolosha would be the talk of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

    But that's what happened as the job he did defensively on both Wade and James was simply outstanding.

    Offensively, Sefolosha made 2-of-5 shots from the floor and knocked down 5-of-6 free-throws.

    He had a huge impact on the Thunder taking a 1-0 series lead.

    Game 1 Grade: A

Russell Westbrook

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    Game 1 Stats: 27 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds

    Westbrook made only 10-of 24 shots, but picked the right time to make them as he had a very good second half, scoring 19 points.

    Other than missing a few shots early, Westbrook was outstanding.

    He did the job as a facilitator and used his speed to his advantage in the second half as he was able to penetrate the lane at ease.

    When he's knocking down the mid-range shot, the thunder are next to unstoppable.

    Game 1 Grade: A-

James Harden

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    Game 1 Stats: five points, three assists

    Harden played only 22 minutes and didn't make an impact on the game as Scott Brooks elected to use Sefolosha for defensive reasons.

    It turned out to be the right choice.

    Harden however, took only six shots on the night, making only two.

    Game 1 Grade: C-

Nick Collison

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    Game 1 Stats: eight points, 10 rebounds

    Collison may have been the unsung hero on the night for the Thunder as he pulled down 10 rebounds (five offensive), which include a few big fourth quarter offensive boards.

    The 'blue-collar' Collison did a good job on the defensive floor and did all the little things a coach loves.

    In 21 minutes off the bench, he made 4-of-5 shots and had more easy dunks in this game than he probably had all season (and that includes practice).

    Game 1 Grade: B+