NBA Playoffs 2011: Thunder vs. Grizzlies Game 2 Report Card
After dropping Game 1 at home, the Oklahoma City Thunder responded in a big way.
Led by Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Eric Maynor, the Thunder defeated the Grizzlies by a score of 111-102.
Playing on the road against a thunderous home crowd, Grizzlies players Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol were the opposite of themselves from Game 1.
This game was the reverse of the last game. Oklahoma City led nearly the entire game, dominating Memphis on both ends of the floor.
Let's get down to the grades. Here are the grades and breakdowns for the key players in Game 2.
Kevin Durant was his average self versus the Grizzlies. Durant knocked down open shots, played solid defense and exemplified team basketball.
In the first half, Durant was extremely efficient, going 4-for-7 from the field and 2-for-2 from three. Durant also made all three of his first half free-throw attempts.
Durant continued his solid play in the second half. The lanky youngster finished with 26 points and five rebounds on 8-of-18 shooting.
Durant did not have an excellent game, but he really did not need to. His teammates were so effective around him that he was able to sit back and choose his spots.
Final Grade: B
After drawing tons of criticism following Game 1, Westbrook followed it up with a bounce-back game. He played within himself, scoring 22 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the field.
Westbrook had a great first half that the team needed him to have. He played smart, concise basketball. Westbrook went an efficient 6-for-9 from the field in the first half, scoring 14 points while dishing out two assists.
In the second half, Westbrook did a good job of keeping the game under control. The Grizzlies never really came within reach, and much of that can be attributed to Westbrook's efforts.
Once again, Westbrook had the bounce-back game the Thunder desperately needed from him. Don't be surprised if Westbrook can keep his momentum rolling into Memphis for Game 3.
Final Grade: A-
Now this is the James Harden the Thunder have been waiting for.
Harden came out on fire in the first half, netting 10 points on just six attempts. What really made his first half special was the energy he brought.
Harden's hustle plays were very impressive, continuously grabbing rebounds and dishing out assists.
During the second half, Harden brought out a new element to his game. Harden routinely got to the free-throw line, finishing with a perfect line of 11-for-11.
Harden finished the game with 21 points, doing exactly what the Thunder needed from him off the bench.
Final Grade: A
Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins
None of these players' numbers will wow you.
Fortunately for the Thunder, their defense did.
These three were able to dominate Randolph and Gasol, holding them to a combined 28 points and 19 rebounds.
The toughness of Perkins, effectiveness of Collison and explosiveness of Ibaka are exactly what the Thunder need every night from them.
If the Thunder want to take down the Grizzlies, it all starts with what they can do in guarding them.
Combined Final Grade: A
Where did Eric Maynor come from?
The VCU alumni did his best VCU impression, draining three after three.
Maynor virtually finished the Grizzlies, scoring 15 points in 15 minutes of game action.
The most impressive part of his game was his three-point shooting. Maynor went 3-for-4 from deep, showing how valuable he can be as a spark off the bench.
Maynor bought himself consistent minutes for the rest of the series. Look for Maynor to light up Greivis Vasquez and the Grizzlies at least one more time in this series.
Final Grade: A
Randolph was hardly Randolph in Game 2. He seemed out of sync and was never able to establish a complete rhythm against Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, and Nick Collison.
"Z-Bo" went a disappointing 2-for-13 from the field, demonstrating how good the Thunder did on him defensively.
Randolph finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, well below what he has been used to in the playoffs.
Memphis desperately needs Randolph to bounce back in Game 3, especially since they can't let this young Thunder team gain any more momentum.
Final Grade: D+
Gasol was downright terrible in Game 2. He never got anything going and was visibly frustrated by the end of the game.
Guarded by Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison for the majority of the game, Gasol simply could not make anything happen.
Not only was he dominated on the offensive end, Gasol could not clog the paint and stop guys like James Harden. Harden is not a usual customer in the paint, meaning Gasol will have to step up in that aspect of his game if Memphis wants a chance.
Gasol finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, something he will certainly try to improve on.
Memphis knows that Gasol is a huge piece for them, and Game 3 is where the foreign product will need to show he can play better against the Thunder big men.
Final Grade: D-
Conley was easily the Grizzlies best player in Game 2. If Conley was not playing great, this game would have been over by the third quarter.
Conley shot well all night, finishing with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Adding to his impressive stat line, Conley dished out eight assists in the loss.
While Conley had a great game individually, Memphis needs its other big parts to step up and help them.
Unfortunately for Memphis, it's hard to envision Conley playing much better than he did in Game 2. Conley simply put on a show but was overshadowed by how bad his teammates were.
Final Grade: A
Like Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo's shooting clinic was eclipsed by the lack of presence from Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Mayo quietly had a solid game, scoring 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
However, the only thing Mayo can hang his hat on is scoring. Mayo was routinely torched on defense, getting burned by James Harden possession after possession.
Memphis can't expect much more from Mayo than scoring, which will continue in Game 3.
Final Grade: B-