The Dynamic Duo was in full effect last night.. and dare I say the Big 3 in OKC?
After Durant’s emotional MVP acceptance speech on Tuesday, the Thunder have been firing on all cylinders in their Western Conference series against the Clippers. The Thunder have bounced back and are winners of two straight against the Clippers after taking the surprising 122-105 Game 1 loss in Oklahoma City on Monday. The Thunder lead the Clippers 2-1 in the seven game series.
Durant’s fierce and nearly unguardable teammate Russell Westbrook added another near triple double with 23 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. Westbrook is truly in beast mode as he is averaging 28 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in his last six games. The dynamic and ultra competitive point guard scored from all over the court with tough drives to the basket, pull up jumpers and some clutch late threes to seal the victory for OKC.
Blake Griffin finished last nights game with 34 points and eight rebounds in the loss. His play continues to be a factor in the outcome of this series as the Clippers didn’t stand a chance with a neurtalized Griffin adding an unimpactful 15 points and six rebounds in their 112-101 Game 2 loss to the Thunder.
Clippers point guard and leader Chris Paul added an impressive 21 points and 16 assists for the Thunder, but it cancels out with Westbrook’s 23 points and near triple double. Paul will need to figure out a way to make Westbrook’s job tougher with some better defense against the Thunder point guard or the Clippers could be facing yet another early exit from the NBA Playoffs. NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford added 20 points for the Clippers in the loss.
One of the biggest factors in the outcome of last night’s game is the play of Serge Ibaka. The Thunder big man finished with an impressive 20 points and six rebounds and added pressure to Griffin with Thunder reserve and rookie forward Steven Adams. Ibaka even unfortunately gave Griffin a bloody nose with a hit to the face in last night’s game.
Another consistent contributor to the Thunder cause is back up point guard Reggie Jackson who added 14 points for the Thunder. Veteran Caron Butler also added 14 points in the win. They aren’t all starters, but watch out for that line up of Jackson, Westbrook, Butler, Durant and Ibaka late in games. They are without a doubt one of the toughest five lineups to match up with in the league.
If Ibaka can consistently put up these type of numbers to compliment the superb play of Durant and Westbrook, who can stop this Thunder squad? The Clippers and Thunder are right back at it tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 ET on ABC in Los Angeles with the Clippers in a must-win Game 4.
-Patrick Hazel (@pattywack25)