Nightly Grades: Thunder handle a tired Clippers team

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

TeamGradeAnalysis
A-

The Oklahoma City Thunder weren't the only ones hitting big shots in the arena tonight. As you can see above, yet another fan made the half court shot to win some serious coin. He even got a little praise from Jay Z. The Thunder followed his lead and put away a Los Angeles Clippers team on the second night of a back-to-back. The Thunder didn't need much to get the job done either.

Kevin Durant had a relatively easy 28 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. Serge Ibaka chipped in 17 points on 10 shots and the Reggie Jackson/Jeremy Lamb combo off the bench gave OKC 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Most importantly, the defense was great allowing just 41.3 percent from the field and only 30 of the 92 Clippers shots came in the restricted area.

B

There was nothing pretty about this win for the Denver Nuggets but it still got them in the win column, regardless. The Nuggets survived a zero-point performance from Wilson Chandler in 27 minutes by taking six players scoring in double figures for them. Jordan Hamilton led the team in scoring with 17 points off the bench and Nate Robinson gave Denver the spark they needed in the fourth quarter.

It's hard to tell if the Nuggets' defense, Denver's altitude, or Chicago's bad offense was the main reason for the Bulls' 38.8 percent shooting from the field, but the Nuggets did manage to put together a nice effort on that end of the floor. They controlled the second half of this game.

B-

Perhaps the Clippers used up all of their shooting Wednesday night against the Wolves? The Clippers just didn't seem to have any kind of effectiveness outside of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Jamal Crawford chipped in 18 points off the bench but the rest of the team was a non-factor. They were horrendous at the free throw line and couldn't make shots from outside.

The big question is do you consider this a loss for the Clippers or a schedule loss? Did they simply not have their legs and their ability to knock down good shots because they were tired from the night before? The Clippers need to show a better team effort in a measuring stick game like this on national television. It's not a bad loss for them but it's one you want to take on the road to prove to yourself you're as good as you want to be.

D+

Derrick Rose had 19 points on 20 shots and just one free throw. It feels like we're getting back to pre-MVP season Rose in which he's no longer capable of consistently drawing fouls. He's avoiding contact more than he should but that could be a consequence of coming back from the knee injury still. That kind of physical confidence isn't easy to regain so quickly.

The Bulls dominated the boards with 22 offensive rebounds but it didn't turn into a whole lot because they couldn't make outside shots. 50 of Chicago's 87 points came in the paint. The rest of the floor was a wasteland for the Bulls.

 
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