The Thunder had a precious opportunity to beat the Clippers on their home court and then return home for a series-ending opportunity. The Thunder looked like they were going to capitalize early, as they where leading by 17 points in the first quarter and by 11 at the halftime. Kevin Durant had 40 points, 3 assists and 7 rebounds while shooting 50% from the field. Westbrook had 27 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, shooting 45% from the field. By contrast,Griffin and Paul combined for 48 points, while the Clippers role players including Collison and Crawford combined for 36 points.
The Thunder started out very strong, and there is one word that would describe their performance in the first quarter which was, ''Perfection." Kevin Durant and Westbrook played very well in terms of their offense. Serge Ibaka was a beast as he absolutely defended the paint very well finishing up with 4 blocked shot. We witnessed the occurrence of team work in the first quarter, and how impressive the Thunder players where when defending their paint and attacking their opponent's paint as well.
However, this strong performance did not last long as the Clippers really began their comeback in the 2nd quarter, closing the deficit to 4 points midway through. This fact was lost in the Clippers' dramatic comeback; in reality the real collapse happened in the 2nd quarter, not only the 4th. Even though the Thunder were leading by 11 points at the half time, but where did the solid performance go after the first quarter, and why did it disappear?. In fact, there are several possible reasons for the following issue. One might be that the Thunder bench players and role players failed to be successful as the starting 5 where in the first quarter. Another reason might be is that fatigue started playing a roll on the Thunder starters.
After halftime, the Thunder retained a double digit lead for most of the game, but it seemed like the lead was smaller than it really was. This opened up the opportunity for Darren Collison to surprise everyone as he finished with 18 points, including the final 4 Clippers points of the game that gave them the win.
While Collison's explosion was surprising, the game really turned with 4 minutes left for the end of the 4th quarter, when Chris Paul started guarding Durant. This resulted in some bad passes and turnovers. In addition, Westbrook started getting back to his bad habits as he stopped passing the ball to the players, and started forcing bad shots. It is also surprising that Scott Brooks gave the green light for Jackson to guard Crawford, as Sefolosha would have fit better for defensive purposes. Scott Brooks played the team without a center, which I believe is a wrong decision.
In conclusion, a lot of these issues went into the Thunder losing the game and allowing the Clippers to tie it at 2-2. The question is, which ones will be corrected?