Rockets-Thunder Game 5: 4 Winners, 4 Losers
4. Kevin Durant
The box score will make it look like Durant did his best to carry the Thunder (11-23 from the field, 13-16 from the line, 36 points), and maybe he did. Maybe sans Russell Westbrook, this was his best. If that's the case, just know that Durant's best included a fourth quarter in which he took two shots in the first 9 1/2 minutes. TWO SHOTS. And he was on the floor the whole time. Can you name one marquee scorer who would only take two shots with his team trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter of a crucial playoff game? You can't. The gap between LeBron and Durant is much bigger than the gap between Jordan and any of the guys who played the role of "second best in the league" back in the 90's. I stand by that, and that dynamic was on display last night.
3. Scott Brooks
That said, there were entire possessions throughout the second half that the Thunder would go down the floor on offense and Durant wouldn't even touch the ball. Every possession that went something like "Jackson dribbles, hands off to Sefolosha who gives to Ibaka, Ibaka with a fifteen footer...CLANK", that's a win for the Rockets. And every one of those Durant-less possessions is further fodder for anyone who thinks Scott Brooks should be fired.
2. Kendrick Perkins
In honor of Perkins penchant for starting the game and then winding up with only about 15 minutes of playing time seemingly every night, I will keep this one short: what the fuck does Kendrick Perkins do that earns him a chair in a soup kitchen, much less $8 million from an NBA team? Seriously, tell me. I don't know one thing he does average, forget doing it well.
1. Kevin Martin
It's funny, in the games earlier in the series, Kevin Martin's pattern had been decidedly, well, Kevin Martin-ian, scoring efficiently early in the game and/or with the Thunder holding a big lead, and then disappearing late in games when the Thunder were barely holding on. It's what Kevin Martin does. It's what he's always done. His entire game consists of scoring meaningless points off of spot up jumpers and the occasional dribble drive where he flails his body in the air like he was shot by a sniper in the third deck. Kevin Martin, bitch ball specialist. Well, on Wednesday, he decided to cut out the middleman and just suck the entire time. 1 for 10 from the field, 0 for 6 from three point range, and trust me, there is no player in the NBA where you can be more truthful than Martin when you say "If he's not scoring, he's useless on the floor."
Non-scoring Kevin Martin is useless. Scoring Kevin Martin barely has use.
I can't wait to boo him in Game 6 Friday night.