GAME IN REVIEW
No lead is safe in the NBA, and while on Sunday the Thunder let its 19-point advantage go briefly, Head Coach Scott Brooks’ squad immediately recovered.
In Los Angeles against the Clippers, another top-3 team in the Western Conference, the Thunder played a brilliant first half, building a 13-point advantage at the break through its cheap Jerseys defense and unselfish offense. The Clippers, behind All-Star Chris Paul, made their inevitable run in the third and fourth quarters, eventually taking a one-point lead with a minute and a half to go. Under the guidance of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, however, the Thunder went on a 5-0 run to get the 108-104 victory. It was a show of resolve, mettle and maturity for Brooks’ squad to battle through and come away with the win.
“We’ve grown up a lot as a team,” Durant said to ESPN’s Heather Cox. “We’ve been through situations like this. We just kept saying, ‘Weather the storm, it’ll get better.’”
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The first half saw the Thunder force 16 Clippers turnovers and make nine of its 12 steals in the game. With a nice defensive burst from Hasheem Thabeet, who had three blocks and two steals in nine minutes, the Thunder out-hustled the Clippers in quarters one and two. Forcing Los Angeles into 2-for-11 shooting from three was equally as important as the 37 combined points from Durant and Westbrook as the Thunder took a 54-41 advantage into half. It was clear from the start that the Thunder was focused on defending one of the league’s best offenses first and foremost.
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“Just being aggressive,” Westbrook said to ESPN’s Heather Cox. “I think tonight we came out with a defensive mindset.”
Oznake: Western Conference