After losing Game One to the Los Angeles Clippers, and looking overmatched in the process, the Thunder showed the NBA world why they’re considered one of the favorites to win the title this season in Game Two.
There may not be a more dynamic duo in the association than Westbrook and Durant. We’ve known this for awhile. However, Durant and Westbrook may have combined for their finest performance ever on Wednesday night. Durant set the tone from the outset, scoring 17 points in the first quarter. After Durant set the tone, Westbrook took over the game and annihilated the Clippers in every which way. Not only did Westbrook slow down Chris Paul, who had his finest playoff game ever in game one, but Westbrook frustrated the Clippers to the tone of 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists (though the last assist came with an assist itself in the form of the home score keepers). Westbrook notched his third triple-double of the playoffs, which makes that three more than the rest of the NBA combined. Who says the Thunder would be better off without him?
Westbrook and Durant combined for 63 points, 22 rebounds, and 19 assists. Durant was one assist away from a triple-double himself, which would have been the first time in NBA playoffs history that two teammates would have each had a triple-double in the same game. Yup, they were that good.
The Clippers played like a team that was happy to grab a split and head back to Los Angeles. While it’s great that the Clippers grabbed one of the games in Oklahoma City, it’s disheartening that they played an uninspired brand of basketball. Two nights after dominating the Thunder with a physical style of play, they seemed to let off the gas pedal in game two.
Now, the Clippers and Thunder head back to Los Angeles with a tied series and each team has to believe that this series is going to last awhile. The Clippers had an opportunity to put the Thunder in a corner early; however, it wasn’t to be.
The Clippers need to be more focused and physical in games three and four. If they fail to sweep at home, Oklahoma City will feel like they have the edge in the series, and they will. Can the Clippers sweep the next two games? They won’t be able to if they let Westbrook and Durant dominated like they did in game two. No one can beat the Thunder in a series if that tandem is playing at their peak.