MVP Durant leads OKC into Game 2 against Clips
(SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Durant finally won his first MVP award.
Now, he has to lead his Oklahoma City Thunder into Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, down 1-0, but in the friendly confines of Chesapeake Energy Arena.
On Tuesday afternoon, Durant easily won his first MVP award, then delivered one of the most poignant acceptance speeches in recent memory. He thanked his mother and family, the Thunder organization and singled out his teammates individually.
"I've put in so much work and so many people have helped me out. I feel like we all won," said Durant. "It feels like a group award and it feels great to celebrate it with such a good group of guys."
The speech was heartfelt and lovely, but the task at hand now for Durant and his Thunder is to knot this series.
On Monday, the Clippers walked into Oklahoma City and slapped the Thunder around to the tune of a 122-105 Game 1 drubbing.
"We have to flip the page quickly," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "We have a day (Tuesday) for adjustments. ... I'm confident we're going to play much better Wednesday night."
Oklahoma City, which was coming off its own grueling seven-game series against the Memphis Grizzlies, received typical productive efforts from Durant and Russell Westbrook that went for naught.
Westbrook scored a team-high 29 points, while Durant added 25 for the Thunder. Serge Ibaka was the only other OKC player in double figures with 12. Thabo Sefolosha returned to the starting lineup for the Thunder after sitting out the last two games of the Grizzlies series. He only managed five points.
For the Clippers, Chris Paul was beyond brilliant.
The All-Star point guard finished with 32 points and 10 assists, while shooting 12-for-14 from the field and 8-for-9 from 3-point range. Paul, who has been dealing with a sprained left thumb and a right hamstring injury, had 17 points in an opening quarter that saw Los Angeles build a huge lead.
"I try to take what's given to me and early I think the shot clock might have been running down on one of the first shots that I took," Paul said. "And I made it and then I kept trying to be aggressive. I didn't want to force it or anything like that because I'm one of those people when you're hot and you take a bad shot then it's gone."
Blake Griffin, who finished third in MVP voting, complemented Paul with 23 points, while Jamal Crawford donated 17 points off the bench in the blowout. J.J. Redick added 12 points and Matt Barnes chipped in 15.
Two days after finishing off the Golden State Warriors in a hard-fought series, the Clippers shot a blistering 54.9 percent from the field and 15- of-29 from 3-point range.
The Clippers closed out their Game 7 win over the Warriors on Saturday with a 39-point fourth quarter, and they duplicated the feat in the first 12 minutes of Monday's tilt.
Game 3 will be Friday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
05/07 09:42:54 ET