A lot went right for the Los Angeles Clippers in their game one blowout of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the same can not be said of their performance in game 2. Not many positives could be found, especially on the defensive end as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 63 points 22 rebounds and 19 assists.
After a pair of blowouts, we have to expect things will even out between these teams when they meet tonight in the Staples Center. The LA Clippers need to slow the game down, because when OKC gout out in ran in game 2 it translated into 6-10 point swings in a little over a minute. Doc Rivers challenged his guards, especially Chris Paul “We can box him(Westbrook) out. We have got to keep him off the glass.” Westbrook’s nose for the basketball combined with his athleticism has presented a real challenge to the Clippers guards.
Not only must they defend him for the entire possession, they have to finish with a box out. If they box out, Westbrook’s pursuit of the basketball will cause him to pick up offensive fouls. That can be an area where the Clippers find an advantage, by turning Westbrook’s strength into a weakness. To do this, they must rotate defenders because it is incredibly taxing to defend a play as active as Westbrook for an entire possession.
Defending Kevin Durant is nearly impossible. Matt Barnes has smothered him this series and Durant has continued to hit tough shots. While the defense looks good, the Clippers need to stay out of foul trouble. In the starters first shift, every one of them picked up at least one foul. While some were questionable calls, others were blatant and un-needed. Hopefully they can clean that up heading into game three and take a 2-1 lead using defense as their guide.