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2013-2014 Game 78 Recap: Thunder go full badger, slide by Clippers 107-101

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So many highlights, so little time.

Russ has some hella sick rides after games, if you haven't noticed.
Russ has some hella sick rides after games, if you haven't noticed.
William Bennett Berry

Stats: Box Score | Popcorn Machine | Play-by-Play | Shot Chart

Recaps: Clips Nation | Mayberry's Nuggets

Highlights: Dunk Mix | Westbrook's Double-Double | Durant vs. Griffin

Post-Game Interviews: Chris Paul

What's scary about this game?

Blake Griffin. This guy has improved by leaps and bounds this year. I know that he's had good games against the Thunder in the past, but this one had to be the most impressive. Blake did a really awesome job of knowing when he could space the floor for a shot, and his touch and athleticism near the basket were almost unreal.

Of course, those are things that we all know. What you might not know is that the Thunder's interior D was incredibly solid last night. Ibaka was really active as a help defender, and Adams did a fantastic job of shutting down Blake on a couple of separate occasions. But Blake still managed to have an MVP-like performance, and when the Thunder's calling card is interior D, that can be a scary thought.

What's awesome about this game?

Russell Westbrook. I never get tired of watching this guy play. Since returning from injury, his offense has been a trainwreck of inconsistency. He'll almost always get the shot he wants, because he can pull up from almost anywhere. But whether his shot goes in or not can come down to luck. Honestly, I don't even know what a good or bad shot is for him anymore. Any time the ball goes up, I just hold my breath and hope for the best.

But what makes Westbrook such a huge asset is his determination. It's something that's hard to quantify, but he's one of the few players you'll see that takes a shot, sees how it's going to miss, and runs at the opposing rebounder in an attempt to get the rebound or a steal. It's true that plays like this sometimes torpedo the team, but when they're successful, they can really get the momentum going in the Thunder's direction.

Case in point: After Westbrook's first steal in the first quarter, the Thunder went on a 4-0 run that put the team up 29-19. They also forced Blake Griffin to commit a defensive three second violation. After Westbrook's steal in the third quarter, the Thunder went on a 8-0 run that involved three Clipper turnovers, including two by Chris Paul. It's impossible to quantify an effect that's purely psychological, but I do feel like that old fashioned Honey Badger tenacity played into our favor.

What's scary about this game?

Kevin Durant. Man, this is one of the worst games I've ever seen him play. I don't know if someone put laxative in his cereal this morning or what, but he was about half of the player that he usually is. He struggled to score in one on one situations, was atrocious from three, and barely made a blip on the boards or dimes. By the end of the game, he was resorting to drawing foul calls.

I'm not trying to be hard on the guy. After all, we couldn't be here without him, and he's infinitely more consistent than every other player on the roster. And, if nothing else, he hit a really clutch three and was willing to let Westbrook take some of the glory. Mulligan.

Slammin' Notes:

  • Andre Roberson was starting for the Thunder two games ago. Now, he's on the inactive list. #OnlyinBrooksWorld
  • Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III saw no time. Adams played tonight because of the Clippers' inside scoring threat, but Lamb and Jones should see time in spot roles as matchups allow.
  • Nick Collison played only 12 minutes with two fouls. Can't believe that we're legitimately having a hard time getting him minutes.
  • Caron Butler is still not a threat to put the ball on the floor, he still plays horribly in important games, and I still don't know why he's getting time. #BrokenRecord
  • During this game, Hedo Turkoglu constantly wiped the bottom of his feet and licked his hands. EWWWWW
  • Kendrick Perkins managed to generate a turnover by running up to Chris Paul on the perimeter. Intimidation finally works!
  • If Danny Granger and Jamal Crawford had played, I bet the Clippers would have won this game. I don't blame the Thunder or anything, but it's just too hard for the team to beat fully stocked playoff squads when both Ibaka and Durant struggle from the floor.
  • I'm glad Reggie Jackson is taking threes, because that cold three at the end of the third really put us in command going into the fourth.

Zorgon's Awards:

Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook, honey badger 4 lyfe

Thunder Down Under: Steven Adams, because with that defense, why not?

Thunder Blunder: Caron Butler, waugh

Thunder Plunderer: Blake Griffin, dunker extraordinaire

Next Game: Versus the New Orleans Pelicans, Friday, March 11th, 7 PM Central Standard Time.

What did you think of last night's game? Let us know in the comments!