When Chris Paul glided back to the defensive end, he had accomplished a pair of feats in one shot. Paul became the first player in NBA playoff history to hit his first 8 three point shots he attempted and he also became one of the few players to ever silence ChesaPeake Bay Arena, home of the Oklahoma City Thunder. CP3 finished with 32 points on 12-14 shooting and tallied 10 assists in the LA Clippers’ blowout win of OKC.
For the first time in the last few years, it appeared the fire power of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook would not be enough. Steve Kerr claimed “the media will slam the Thunder tomorrow, especially Kevin Durant.”
He went 9-19 and finished with 25 points, he didn’t even play in the 4th quarter, so the criticism we will be hearing will be somewhat unjust. Russell Westbrook is the real wildcard of the two, but he had the better night, scoring 29 on 9-14 shooting. Their defense, combined with a pitiful performance by the supporting cast and the incredible efficiency of the Clippers’ offense made for a forgettable night for the Thunder fans and players.
As for Paul and the Clippers, the key tonight was effectiveness of the pick and roll game, which they struggled having consistent success with against Golden State. Paul was able to find Griffin on many slips because the Thunder were hedging high in the screens. This would result into a Griffin drive and kick or shot and that was the basic play all night long.
That being said, the Clippers should just forget about their game 1 victory because they won’t shoot like that in game 2. Their defense will be forced to make big plays and last night their defense did struggle at times regardless of their lead. Chris Paul struggled containing the athleticism of Westbrook, and Blake Griffin refused to step out to check Serge Ibaka when he was more then 15 feet away from the basket. Game 2 is going to feel like somewhat of a restart for the series, but the Clippers have a 1-0 lead. Expect a much more focused Oklahoma City Thunder team to come out tomorrow night and make it a much closer contest.