Oklahoma City wins series 4-2
|Game 1: Monday, May 5th|
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|Game 2: Wednesday, May 7th|
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|Game 3: Friday, May 9th|
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|Game 4: Sunday, May 11th|
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|Game 5: Tuesday, May 13th|
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|Game 6: Thursday, May 15th|
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9:30 PM ET, May 7, 2014
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook help Thunder pull even with Clippers
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant stood before his adoring home crowd, proudly holding his MVP trophy above his head during a pregame ceremony.
He spent the next few hours showing how he earned it.
Durant had 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 112-101 on Wednesday night to tie their Western Conference semifinal series at one game apiece.
"We wanted to come back and respond," Durant said. "So, I think that's what fueled the team tonight. We just went out there and played extremely well and left it all out there, and came out with a good `W."
Westbrook's Singular Focus
Russell Westbrook scored 21 of his 31 points when he did not pass the ball during the possession, including 17 of his 19 first-half points. In the playoffs, he has been more effective when he has not deferred to his teammates:
During his emotional MVP acceptance speech on Tuesday, Durant called teammate Russell Westbrook an MVP-caliber player. Westbrook backed up Durant's words with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his third triple-double in his past five playoff games.
"I think Russ played harder than all of us combined," Clippers guard Chris Paul said. "He was all over the place."
Thunder coach Scott Brooks took Durant out of the game with 1:21 remaining, costing him a shot at the triple-double. According to information provided to the Thunder by the Elias Sports Bureau, no pair of teammates has had triple-doubles in the same playoff game.
"It was the perfect storm," Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said. "They did everything they could to win, and they got everything they wanted tonight. That wasn't the Clippers team we've been and I'm sure we'll get back on track."
The Clippers will host Game 3 Friday in Los Angeles.
Ibaka Grounds Griffin
Serge Ibaka continued his defensive excellence against Blake Griffin, who was held to seven points on 3-of-11 shooting when guarded by Ibaka. Ibaka also continued to dominate Griffin inside of 10 feet:
Blake Griffin, West Semifinals
|vs. Ibaka||vs. Others|
|FG inside 10 ft.||1-for-7||5-for-7|
Durant scored 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting in the first quarter to help the Thunder take a 37-28 lead. Paul, who scored 17 points in the opening quarter of Game 1, went scoreless in the first quarter of Game 2 and watched most of the period from the bench with two fouls as the Thunder took control early.
Oklahoma City got an offensive boost from an unlikely source in the third quarter -- Sefolosha, a defensive stopper. He hit a mid-range jumper, then dunked after a steal by Westbrook to give the Thunder a 78-66 lead. Sefolosha dunked again, then got a steal that led to a 3-pointer by Westbrook and gave Oklahoma City a 90-73 advantage.
Sefolosha, who had averaged just 3.7 points in the playoffs, scored 12 points in the quarter to help the Thunder take a 94-77 lead into the fourth. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he expected Durant and Westbrook to score, but not Sefolosha.
"We can win if they (Durant and Westbrook) both have good offensive games," Rivers said. "What we can't do is then give them that plus everything else. And I thought that's what happened tonight."
Westbrook clinched his triple-double with 1:21 remaining when he was credited with an assist after a pass to Sefolosha, who took two dribbles on his drive to the basket.
Rivers said the Thunder were the aggressors.
"Every single possession, you have to have great focus and you have to be locked in, and today we were not," he said. "I thought it was because of all the clutter today. We're upset at the officials, we're upset at everything instead of turning our anger on the opponent and focus. Tonight we just didn't have it."
A power surge took out much of the arena's lighting with 27.2 seconds left in the first half. The coaches agreed to finish out the half with the limited lighting. The power returned, but halftime was extended briefly to give the lights the necessary 15 minutes to return to full brightness. ... Rapper Jay-Z attended the game. ... 2K Sports has announced that Durant will be the lone player on the cover of NBA 2K15. He shared the cover of 2K13 with Griffin and Chicago's Derrick Rose. Miami's LeBron James was on the cover of 2K14. ... Commissioner Adam Silver presented Durant with the MVP trophy before the game. ... Thunder C Steven Adams was called for a technical foul with 9:17 remaining for falling on Paul after biting on a pump fake and knocking him into the Thunder bench. Crawford was issued a technical with 7:28 to play, and Paul was given one with 2:24 remaining. ... Severe weather affected the area, and fans were told to stay in the arena after the game to allow the weather to pass.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - May 7, 2014: DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Los Angeles Clippers looks on against the Oklahoma City...(Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
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 on 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.
The Thunder held a 17-9 advantage in second-chance points. They have improved to 42-16 when having a better offensive rebounding percentage.[+]
Four Factors Analysis
Russell Westbrook scored 21 of his 31 points when he did not pass the ball during the possession Wednesday, including 17 of his 19 first-half points. In the playoffs, he has been more effective when he has not deferred to his teammates.[+]
Russell Westbrook Offense, 2014 Playoffs
Serge Ibaka continued his defensive excellence against Blake Griffin, who scored 7 points on 3-of-11 shooting when guarded by Ibaka Wednesday. Ibaka has held Griffin to one field goal inside 10 feet this series. Griffin led the league with 6.6 such makes per game during the regular season.[+]
Blake Griffin by Primary Defender, West Semifinals
Durant is the first player since Allen Iverson in 2000-01 to win both the scoring title and MVP award. The last player to win the scoring title, MVP and NBA title in the same season was Shaquille O'Neal in 1999-00.
Kevin Durant averaged 32.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists this season. He was just the 4th player in NBA history to average at least 32.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in a single season - Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Michael Jordan (once) and Elgin Baylor (once).[+]
Both the Wizards and Clippers will be on the road tonight trying to go up 2-0. 18 of the previous 21 teams to win the first 2 games of a best-of-7 series on the road went on to advance. The only 3 teams to overcome that deficit were the 1968-69 Lakers, 1993-94 Rockets and 2004-05 Mavericks.[+]
Won Best-of-7 Series - Lost First 2 Games at Home
Durant led the league in total points for the 5th straight season. He's 1 of 3 players in NBA history that has accomplished that feat - Michael Jordan (7 straight) and Wilt Chamberlain (7 straight).[+]
Game score gives a rough measure of a player's productivity for a single game where 40 is outstanding and 10 is average. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for a 57.5 game score in yesterday's win against the Clippers. Dating back to 2006, it was the 4th time teammates each had a game score of at least 27... Durant has been a part of 3 of them.[+]
TEAMMATES WITH 27+ GAME SCORE - IN PLAYOFF GAME SINCE 2006
* Durant averaged 32.0 PPG while shooting 50.3 percent from the field. He was the first player to average 30+ PPG and shoot 50.0 percent from the field since Michael Jordan in 1991-92. * Durant's scoring average of 32.0 was the highest by a player since 2005-06 (Kobe Bryant-35.4, Allen Iverson-33.0). * Durant registered 47 30-point games this season, by far the most in the league and tied for his career high (2009-10). LeBron James ranked 2nd in that category with 31 30-point games. * Durant averaged 4.6 more points per game than Carmelo Anthony, who came in 2nd in the scoring title race. It was the 3rd-largest gap between first and second in scoring average dating back to 1969-70 when the champion was first decided by points per game. Only Michael Jordan (8.1 PPG over Dominique Wilkins in 1986-87) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6.6 PPG over Tiny Archibald in 1971-72) finished with larger margins.
Kevin Durant (OKC): 17 Pts in 1st qtr were his most in a 1st quarter this postseason... Previous high was 14 in Game 6 of 1st round at Memphis
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