Los Angeles Clippers
Oklahoma City Thunder
MVP: Chris Paul went full “Point God” mode, scoring 32 points on a career-high 12-of-14 shooting (8-of-9 on 3-pointers) and dishing out 10 assists. The Thunder threw several different defenders and coverages at him, but nothing worked. He was unstoppable.
That was… a thrashing: Don’t let the final score fool you. The Clippers led by 20-plus points for most of the game, and would have maintained the lead had their starters played in the final frame. The Thunder will need to make considerable adjustments in Game 2.
LVP: The Thunder’s supporting cast. Heading into the fourth, Kevin Durant (25 points) and Russell Westbrook (29) combined for 69 percent of the team’s points and were essentially playing two-on-five. OKC’s role players had plenty of open looks, but only made 39.3 percent of their shots over that time period.
— Jovan Buha
Adding insult to injury
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Chris Paul stole Steph Curry's powers when he left Oakland.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) May 6, 2014
The thing that makes CP3 extra special is that he's 10-11 and 7-7 from 3, but hasn't even considered a heat check one time.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) May 6, 2014
Point God curse is worse than the Based God's.
— Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) May 6, 2014
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 6, 2014
Clippers’ starters with a +38.6 NetRtg tonight. Primary bench unit +22.0. So… good all around, I guess.
— Andrew Han (@andrewthehan) May 6, 2014
The Depth Charge
|Ryan Hollins, C||3||0-2||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||2||-7||0|
|Hedo Turkoglu, PF||DNP INACTIVE|
|Big Baby, PF||14||3-3||0-0||0-0||1||1||2||0||0||1||2||1||+2||6|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Fred, Patrick and Seth gush about Chris Paul’s historic performance and wonder if the Clippers’ offense can continue its dominance for the rest of the series.
Check Your Messages
Without A Running Start
This game was The Chris Paul Show, however, that doesn’t Blake Griffin didn’t have a “that’s just not fair” moment of his own.
At one point in the first half, Griffin set a screen for Paul, who wasn’t able to get Blake the ball on his rolls to the rim lately. He passed it to Griffin, who was in between the dotted free throw arc in the paint and the charity stripe, anyway. From a complete stop, Griffin launched off two feet towards the rim, maneuvering around a skying help defender and finishing the layup.
The Thunder successfully shut down the pick and roll, not allowing a free lane or a comfortable pull-up jumper. Yet without a running start, Blake soared to the rim and scored. Griffin’s athleticism shouldn’t surprise us anymore, but to see him shoot out of a cannon without being in any position to do so was something very, very cool. Also extremely unfair.
– David Vertsberger
My Life Without Meaning
After a Warriors series notable for unbearable excitement — but also injuries, foul trouble, blowouts, and the dreaded distraction — I was looking forward to a meaningful Game 1 against OKC, the kind of game I could discuss and dissect, analyzing individual plays and considering match-up problems. And then Chris Paul turned into Magic “The Glove” Curry for three quarters.
In the fourth? In the fourth, the Clippers intentionally ran post-ups for Ryan Hollins. The good news is that the Thunder couldn’t adjust to the Clippers’ passing out of pick and rolls; the only defensive change was Russell Westbrook deciding to kick Paul’s pocket passes rather than give Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan yet another easy two-on-Steven Adams. But even then, Paul and Griffin had a brief chat, adjusted the angle, and got the lob to Jordan anyway.
The bad news is that the Thunder looked so demoralized that it would have been a shock had they managed to step it up at any point. Here’s hoping Game 2 features something more like meaning.
– Justin Evans
Bizarro Rest Vs. Rust
It was the weekend of Game 7s. With Oklahoma City’s season on the line, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant buried the Grizzlies in spectacular fashion, raining threes upon dunks upon celebratory jumps. With that came a game of relative stress-free activity. The Clippers, on the other hand, rallied back to beat the Warriors in a nail-biter of a victory, withstanding numerous potential Stephen Curry heroics.
Both teams got little rest — with OKC having an extra half-day and no travel — but the Clippers were the one coming out firing on all cylinders. Chris Paul, hampered all series by Klay Thompson and a hamstring injury (probably more so the latter), suddenly saw the light dribbling against a gambling Westbrook or defensively deficient Derek Fisher.
It was a performance that was such an example of variance and skill that there probably won’t be an argument made for either side of the argument. But hindsight always enlightens us in a slightly informative manner. Or one that only engenders itself to my perspective. Whichever it was, the Clippers played an emotionally and physically exhausting first-round series. What comes after can only feel lighter, and so far, much, much easier.
– Andy Liu
Here’s some deep insight: not every game will go this well for the Clippers. Still, it’s important to figure out what’s repeatable and potentially exploitable for the rest of the series. One thing that seems small in light of this huge win, but could loom large in the future, is the way the second units match up. When the Clippers’ bench backcourt of Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford is on the floor against the Thunder’s backup backcourt of Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher — or anytime Crawford is on the floor against a Thunder two-point-guard lineup — it is a genuine mismatch in favor of the Clippers.
Tonight Crawford beat Fisher multiple times in the second quarter, including on back-to-back possessions at around the nine-minute mark. On the first, Crawford got into the lane and stopped short, barely missing a pull-up but drawing an obvious foul. The next play, he again isolated against Fisher and drove right past him, this time making a floater and drawing the foul. He would complete the and-1 after a commercial break.
Everything looks good when Chris Paul plays like this, but it’s worth noting that when he sat for much of the second quarter, the bench unit was able to stretch the lead. If they can continue to be effective against OKC’s second unit, particularly if Crawford again gets a slower defender to break down, this could be a considerable advantage.
– Ben Mesirow