The Oklahoma City Thunder needed a win in L.A. to retake home court advantage against the Clippers. In a blistering display of shotmaking, primary scoring, and supplemental support, OKC did just that. Here is how each player contributed!
||Kevin Durant has been a completely different player this series than he was against the Grizzlies. Whether that has to do with not dealing with Tony Allen, or not, it's a great thing for the Thunder. He logged 46 minutes and did what a superstar does: lead his team to a tough road playoff victory. He even played a little peacemaker between Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook at the end of the game. OH AND DON'T FOUL A GUY SHOOTING A HALF-COURT END OF THE QUARTER SHOT.|
|SHERMAN||Kevin Durant seems to have returned to playing the mode of basketball that suits him best. He moves in and out of the primary scoring position, alternates between ball-handling and off-ball support, and in the process scores 36 points as easily as he gets out of bed in the morning. On top of that, KD got the chance to go up against DeAndre Jordan in the 4th as OKC went small, and Durant did an outstanding job keeping DJ away from the rim. If the Thunder can keep Durant in that role for long stretches without getting hurt badly, they present the Clippers with an almost impossible matchup dilemma.|
||Here's the thing with Steven Adams: he's not good enough (yet) to keep up with Blake Griffin, but he's giving so much effort that you can't help but applaud him even when Griffin makes a basket. The good thing, however, is that in 18 minutes, he still led the Thunder in rebounds.|
|SHERMAN||So here's what we knew already - you cannot JUDO CHOP players in the NBA. I'm pretty sure Steven Adams knew that too, but Adams is nothing if not a devil may care kind of player, so he got his money's worth on CP3. He got burned more than a few times by Griffin, but never stopped battling and grabbed 9 boards in the process. I'm not sure what is more amazing - that OKC is not getting hurt by playing a rookie in key minutes in the playoffs, or that Brooks is actually trusting a rookie not to screw up.|
||The defense still needs improvement, yes, but the Thunder got the stops when they needed them last night and came out with a huge road win to regain home-court advantage. Durant and Westbrook have been great the last two games, but it seems like the role players are starting to step up, and different one's at that. Game two it was Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha that game them a huge boost, but last night it was Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka and I think that's important throughout a championship run. I'm just getting really excited about this team's chances at hoisting up the Larry O'Brien. (yes, I know, it's still early.)|
|SHERMAN||In the past 2 games, the Thunder offense looks completely at ease with whatever they are trying to do. While you can never predict when shooting will go bad or a key player will get into foul trouble, for the time being Westbrook and Durant are dictating every matchup and the Clippers don't seem to have an answer yet. On top of that, they also don't have a bulldog defender in the mold of Tony Allen or Kawhi Leonard to do anything about it. The defense did slip a bit, but that was also in part because Griffin had a monster game. If they can just keep him off the FT line a bit more and challenge him to be a jump shooter, they should be able to get back to their game 2 level defense.|
*All player images via US Presswire