Game 4 Preview: Thunder vs Clippers


May 9, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA;Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) blocks a shot by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second quarter of game three of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

      Oklahoma City Thunder vs Los Angeles Clippers

Thunder lead 2 – 1

   TV: ABC, 12:30 P.M.

       Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

The Clippers and Thunder will duke it out in an all-important game 4 that will probably decide the rest of the series. The Clippers can’t afford to lose this game and go back to Oklahoma City, down 3 – 1. If that is indeed the outcome, the Clippers head into an off – season with more questions than answers. The Clippers have to tie up this series. Game 3 was close and called very tightly, but the Clippers couldn’t close out the game. Game 4 must turn out differently.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been dominant so far in this series, and if the Clippers figure to have any chance they have to slow these two guys down. If Doc Rivers was smart, he wouldn’t have Jared Dudley guarding Kevin Durant. I mean, Durant had his way, and blew by Dudley every chance he got. Durant finished with 36 points, and showed why he was the “Most Valuable Player” (MVP).

Russell Westbrook on the other hand,took the challenge of going at Chris Paul , and it has worked. He was aggressive and played with a chip on his shoulder the entire game. Westbrook finished game with 23 points and 13 assists, a double – double.  The OKC duo combined for 59 of the Thunder’s 118 points. For the Clippers to have any chance in game 4, they have to play very aggressive, and make OKC’s duo play some kind of defense.

The Clippers couldn’t handle the small lineup that OKC had in the fourth quarter, and lost a game that was very winnable. For the Clippers to win game 4, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have to continue their great play, and may have to carry the team the rest of this series. DeAndre Jordan , who had a great series against the Golden State Warriors, has to be that dominant presence on defense. Jordan is being out played by Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins at this point. He has to have a great game as well in order for the Clippers to come out on top.

Sixth Man of the year, Jamal Crawford  has been stellar off the bench for the Clips, and should continue to have his normal 20 points off the bench. The Clippers are going to need their role players to step up and slow OKC’s duo down, and Doc Rivers has to preach defense and high percentage shots in game 4.

Game 4 will come down to great execution and who plays better down the stretch. The Thunder proved in game 3 that they were the ones who wanted to win, but now the Clippers must prove that they are the better and deeper team, who want it more. It should be an exciting game between two teams who are fighting for the opportunity to hold up the Larry O’Brian Trophy in June. The Clippers are writing their own story, and they hope to add another win to this chapter.

Prediction: I’m having a hard time picking against the Kevin Durant, the MVP, but I have to in game 4. The Game will be close again, but the Clippers close out this game with a win going back to OKC. 112 – 108.