Los Angeles Clippers
Oklahoma City Thunder
MVPs: Kevin Durant (32 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists) and Russell Westbrook (31 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) were at the pinnacle of their powers, carving up the Clippers’ porous defensive and getting to the rim with ease. Had Durant dished out one more assist, they would’ve become the first set of teammates to register triple-doubles in a playoff game.
X factor: The other guys. After quiet performances in Game 1, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha combined for 36 points on 15-of-26 shooting and were key cogs in OKC’s third-quarter onslaught. The Thunder can usually survive off a steady diet of Durant and Westbrook, but when the supporting cast pitches in, they’re nearly unbeatable.
LVP: Blake Griffin struggled to find his rhythm offensively, scoring a playoff-low 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Over half of his shot attempts came from 16 feet and further, as Ibaka and Steven Adams were able to push him out of the paint with their length and physicality. Defensively, he wasn’t much better, blowing rotations and providing little resistance at the rim.
– Jovan Buha
The air up there
Tweet(s) Of The Game
So Griffin was the clear mismatch advantage for the Clippers in Round 1. So far it seems like Paul’s brain is the mismatch in Round 2.
— Andrew Han (@andrewthehan) May 8, 2014
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 8, 2014
Man clippers might as well warm up the bus
— Amin Elhassan (@AminESPN) May 8, 2014
Sources close to the situation say Blake Griffin's inability to rebound possibly the result of a gypsy curse.
— Patrick James (@patrickmjames) May 8, 2014
"Steven Adams punched" threat level is now up to orange.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) May 8, 2014
Threat level red!
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) May 8, 2014
Steven Adams is a really scummy player.
— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) May 8, 2014
The Depth Charge
|Ryan Hollins, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Hedo Turkoglu, PF||DNP INACTIVE|
|Big Baby, PF||13||5-7||0-0||0-0||2||4||6||0||0||1||1||3||+6||10|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Patrick, Fred and Andrew ponder Blake Griffin’s off-night and try to figure out ways to get the defense going.
Check Your Messages
Russell Westbrook tried to warn y’all. He was so bad defensively in Game 1 that he wasn’t even close enough to the oven to get baked. He was out of control with his ball-handling, and wasn’t making a lot of plays for others to make up for it. But Westbrook was scoring a point per minute in Game 1. He was also avoiding the disgusting threes that littered the first several games of the first round.
In Game 2, Westbrook continued to go to work. And he ate. Yes, he still took as many shots as the newly anointed MVP, Kevin Durant. But how can you complain when he makes 13-of-22 field goals? Westbrook is too explosive for the Clippers guards, and with Durant on the wing, he’ll continue to pick them apart. Tonight, Westbrook had the effort and intensity, resulting in him grabbing more rebounds than DeAndre Jordan — or any other Clipper, for that matter — while also getting three steals. I realize the Clippers want to survive Durant and Westbrook’s output, but the efficiency of those two players will make that a stressful experience.
Speaking of stressful, the series heads back to Los Angeles. Westbrook has a history of losing his damn mind when playing at Staples Center. It might take some external forces for Westbrook to forget how efficient he is performing. If not, the Clippers are going to be in a world of hurt against the most physical force on the court in this series so far.
- Law Murray
The Clippers weren’t going to win tonight. Not in a game played after Kevin Durant teared up receiving his MVP award. KD and Russell Westbrook combined to annihilate the Clipper existence. But that’s not annoying. Hell, the Clippers can even weather this thunder-and-lightning combo to win some games. The aspect of the game they can’t control and will continue to provide constant agitation is the Steven Adams Factor.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are easily the top-two targets for opposing players. When Paul went up for a jumper in the fourth quarter and received an Adams elbow to the back of his head, I could hear a collective whooshing exhale from those hoping Paul wouldn’t fall crippled to the floor. Paul luckily survived that exchange, and Griffin merely glanced over at Adams after loose ball scuffles in several different instances.
Whether the elbow to the head was intentional or not, Griffin and Paul will have to mine their emotions enough to keep playing basketball. Because at this stage of Adams’ career, he’s more likely to get a player suspended (see: Zach Randolph) than to have a tangible impact on a playoff game.
- Andy Liu
It’s only one game, but tonight’s performance from Blake Griffin is cause for concern. Not just for his poor shooting (5-of-13), poorer defense or even lack of rebounding, securing only six as the Thunder pounded the Clips on the boards (again). The worry is that with Chris Paul asserting his dominance in the second half of Game 7 versus Golden State and stamping his authority all over the first game of this series, Blake has retreated into the second-fiddle role he was playing before Paul’s extended injury absence.
The lack of assertiveness on offense is particularly concerning, given how many good things Griffin has done even in those last two contests as Paul reemerged. The 13 shot attempts tells part of the story, but more worrying was the hesitation when catching the ball at the elbow or the return of that old awkwardness in the post when challenged by Serge Ibaka or Steven Adams. Where was the player who had become the co-equal leader of this team through his all-around dominance?
Hopefully, from a Clippers standpoint, this was just a blip in Griffin’s road to superstardom, and normal service will resume in Game 3. But if not, the Clippers will be in that same old position of going as far as Paul, and only Paul, can carry them.
- Seth Partnow