The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2nd round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, 4-1. In a series that was hair-splittingly close until it wasn't, we are left to enter the long off-season with a series of what-if's on ...
The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2nd round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, 4-1. In a series that was hair-splittingly close until it wasn't, we are left to enter the long off-season with a series of what-if's on our minds. Before we get to those questions, we take a final look at how each player performed in these 5 grit-grind-games.
Individual Game Grades
Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, Game 4, Game 5
Rockets Round 1 Series Grades
(All statistics are series averages)
28.8 PPG, 10.4 REB, 6.6 AST, 1.2 ST, 1.2 BL, 4.4 TO
I've said my piece about Durant in another article, and it pretty much echoes what J.A. say below. Kevin Durant blew a lot of opportunities in the fourth quarter after some amazing games because he was asked to do too much. Still, he did the best job that he could. However, this series did do an effective job of proving that Kevin Durant would make an excellent point guard. His court vision is almost as good as James Harden's, and his ballhandling and passing have definitely improved over the years. So I'll give him a B+ for showing off new skills, but I can't go any higher than that because of his bad clutch performance. Is this unfair? Totally.
It is all but impossible to give Kevin Durant any sort of meaningful grade for this series. If you look at his game-by-game statistics, you see a steady decline in efficiency and production. After game 1, an ending that featured Durant hitting a dagger and reminding everyone how great he can be, the wear and tear of dealing with a Grizzly defense that was exclusively designed to shut down KD and no other for upwards of 45 minutes a game (including all 48 in Game 5) took its toll. Durant may not have played great in games 2-5, but I honestly don't know how he could have played any better.
13.8 PPG, 6.2 REB, 3.8 AST, 0.4 ST, 0.4 BL, 1.8 TO
Reggie Jackson didn't exactly have a break out performance in this series. He's shown us all that he's an effective combo guard that's adept at creating his own shot within the mid-range, which is something that we already knew. But I can't help feeling like he didn't take enough of a role handling the ball in this series. Not being able to knock down threes or guard Mike Conley is forgiveable, but he really needed to take a bigger role with the offense and setting up other players. It would have given KD more time to relax, given the Thunder better shots, and gotten him away from that cursed three point line. He's an effective player and I look forward to seeing what he has next season, but as for now, I feel like he could have been so much more.
For Reggie Jackson, this series will be remembered for two reasons: 1) he made us forget about Eric Maynor forever; and 2) he may have just written his ticket right out of OKC because there's little chance he's going to spend his career as a backup. Jackson's game is still by and large limited to drives to the rim and 10 foot jump shots, but he proved throughout the series that he is now very comfortable attacking a top-flight defense. While he did make some potentially costly mistakes (fouling the 3-point shooter at the end of Game 1), Jackson never made those mistakes a habit, but improved as the series went along. Next year, put him in the backcourt along side Westbrook and you've got a scary looking duo that can attack on both offense and defense.
12.6 PPG, 8.4 REB, 0.4 AST, 3.2 BL, 0.8 TO
I'm neither here nor there on Serge Ibaka. For a while, it looked like he was going to have a really terrible series, missing the routine mid-range jumpers that he so often makes. But he recovered to his normal mode of production, and did a hell of a job on defense. I know a lot of us were expecting more from him, but the harsh reality is that Serge I