(2) Oklahoma City Thunder (1-1) at (3) Los Angeles Clippers (1-1), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder take
their entertaining Western Conference semifinal series, knotted at 1-1, to
Staples Center Friday night for Game 3.
The Thunder, perhaps strengthened by the pregame MVP presentation to Kevin
Durant Wednesday night, evened the series with a 112-101 victory in Game 2 at
Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant led the way with 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists for a near
triple-double. Russell Westbrook did enough for his fourth postseason triple-
double thanks to 31 points, 10 boards and 10 helpers.
"We set the bar high for ourselves," Durant said. "We have a high standard
that we try to reach. We work extremely hard. One thing about Russ, he demands
so much out of everybody and brings the level of the team up with his
intensity and his effort."
What was absent in the Thunder's 17-point loss at home on Monday was found in
evening the series as role players like Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka and
Kendrick Perkins all provided solid production.
Sefolosha scored 12 of his 14 points in a momentum-building third quarter. The
defensive specialist, who scored just 17 points in the first round against
Memphis and didn't play a minute in Games 6 and 7, scored on back-to-back
possessions to cap a 10-2 run in the third that stretched Oklahoma City's lead
to 78-66 midway through the period. Sefolosha then ignited an 11-0 flurry
minutes later with a 3-pointer.
Ibaka netted 14 with seven rebounds and Perkins pulled down nine boards for a
frontcourt that helped Oklahoma City to a 52-36 edge on the glass.
But now the series shifts to Staples Center. OKC split two meetings in LA
this season with the Clippers and is 3-1 in its last four as the visitor in
"We have to do the same thing in Los Angeles," OKC coach Scott Brooks said on
Thursday. "We know how they're feeling. After you lose, you want to come back
and redeem (yourself) and play much better. We have to come out with the same
mindset, same approach and same determination that we had last game."
Chris Paul finished with 17 points and 11 assists to lead the Clippers but was
far from the otherworldly force he was in the opener. J.J. Redick scored a
team-high 18 points but had just two after halftime, and Blake Griffin, who
finished third in the MVP voting, shot just 5-of-13 from the field for 15
The Clippers only made a third of their 3-point attempts (9-of-27) after
connecting on 15-of-29 from long range in their homecourt-stealing Game 1
"They were the more physical team," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. "I
don't think we were very tough mentally tonight."
Perhaps the Clippers can gain some momentum themselves from a player winning
On Thursday, Jamal Crawford was named the Sixth Man of the Year for the second
time in his career.
"There's so many people that helped out with this," said Crawford. "My
teammates, my coaching staff, I hope we can all share it."
Game 4 will be Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.
05/09 10:34:26 ET
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