Rapid Reaction: Thunder 107, Clippers 101
April, 9, 2014
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- When Doc Rivers was writing up a checklist before playing the Oklahoma City Thunder, stopping Kevin Durant wasn't on that list. Not because it wasn't important but because he knew it wasn't possible.
"If it was easy to contain or stop him, he wouldn't be Durant," Rivers said. "Our objective is to rebound the ball against them."
While the Clippers won the rebounding battle Wednesday (52-44) that wasn't enough to win the game as they fell to the Thunder, 107-101.
Durant scored 27 points and teammate Russell Westbrook had 30 points and 11 assists. The loss effectively locks up the No. 2 seed for the Thunder and puts the Clippers at the No. 3 with three games left in the regular season.
How it happened: The Clippers briefly enjoyed a one-point lead midway through the first quarter but never enjoyed one after that. The Clippers stormed back from 17 down in the third quarter to cut the Thunder lead to one point but were not able to complete another comeback, which has recently become a trend for this team.
What it means: The Thunder probably will go into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed and the Clippers will go in as the No. 3 seed and figure to play the Golden State Warriors in the first round. With the No. 2 seed out of the mix, the Clippers probably will look to rest some players over the final three games of the regular season before the start of the playoffs.
Hits: Blake Griffin had 30 points and 12 rebounds, and Chris Paul had 25 points and eight assists. DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Darren Collison was big off the bench with 12 points.
Misses: J.J. Redick will be the first to admit it will take him some time to get back to where he was after missing 25 games because of a bulging disk in his lower back and Wednesday was a good example. He was just 1-of-7 from the field, all from beyond the arc, and had three turnovers.
Stat of the game: The Clippers turned the ball over 17 times, which led to 22 points for the Thunder.
Up next: The Clippers have a couple of days off before facing the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. The Clippers have won the three previous meetings with the Kings this season, including a 104-98 win in overtime on Nov. 29 in their last meeting in Sacramento.