Stats & Info: Kevin Durant

Thunder recover after dreadful 2nd quarter

January, 22, 2015
Jan 22

Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesKevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored at least 30 points in the same game for the 31st time.
Entering halftime, the Thunder trailed by 12 points and had just finished a second quarter where they shot 18.2 percent from the field, their worst in any quarter this season.

They bounced back in a big way in the second half and overtime. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant each scored 30 points for the 31st time since Westbrook was drafted in 2008. Only two other pairs of teammates have more than five such games in that span.

To put those 31 games in context: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were teammates for 10 seasons with the Bulls. They each scored 30 points in the same game 16 times, barely half as many as Durant and Westbrook.

Let's take a look inside the comeback.

Stars step up

Durant and Westbrook combined to score all 13 of the Thunder’s points in overtime, including Westbrook’s game-winning drive to the hoop.

The duo scored 15 points on drives in the second half and overtime, more than double their first-half output.

Westbrook went 2-of-5 with only four points with John Wall as the primary defender in the first half. In the second half, he scored 11 points when defended by Wall.

Making their jumpers

The Thunder scored 33 second-half points on jump shots, more than triple their output in the first half in which they shot 20 percent on jumpers and scored only 10 points.

After not making a single 3-point shot in the first half, the Thunder made six in the second half and overtime, and outscored the Wizards by 20 points on jumpers. The Wizards had a 15-10 point advantage on jumpers in the first half.

Westbrook does it on both ends

Wall struggled Wednesday when Westbrook was his primary defender. Westbrook held Wall to 16.7 percent shooting from the field and contested all four of his jump shots.

Wall finished with only six points and two turnovers against Westbrook. He shot 45.4 percent with 12 points against everyone else.

Thunder need both Westbrook & Durant

December, 24, 2014

Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsThe Thunder are a vastly different team with both Westbrook and Durant on the floor.

When Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook missed the majority of November while Oklahoma City slumped to the bottom of the Western Conference, it appeared the Thunder would be fighting for their playoff lives the rest of the season.

However, once their stars returned at the beginning of December, the Thunder quickly resumed their place as an elite team in the Western Conference, albeit one with a deficit in the standings.

How big of a difference have Durant and Westbrook made, and where do the Thunder stand in their playoff push?

The Durant and Westbrook Effect
When the Thunder don’t have both Durant and Westbrook in the lineup, they are just 6-14, a .300 winning percentage that would put their record in the area of the Lakers and Jazz as one of the worst teams in the West.But the Thunder have won seven of the nine games in which both stars have played, and one of the losses came on the road against the 23-4 Warriors when Durant missed the second half.

Overall, the Thunder have averaged 14 points higher in the games both stars have played and shot almost five percentage points better from the floor.

The Dynamic Duo
Durant and Westbrook have shared the floor for almost 200 minutes this season, and the Thunder have outscored opponents by 16.6 points per 100 possessions in that time while shooting 49 percent.

The Thunder have also pushed the pace, averaging 100.6 possessions per 48 minutes, according to, which is in line with Golden State’s league-leading pace. For the season, Oklahoma City ranks 18th in pace.

Westbrook’s Incredible Start
Statistically, Oklahoma City’s best player this season has been Westbrook, who is averaging a career-high 28.2 points to go along with 5.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists. His rebound and assist numbers are in line with career averages, but his previous career high in points is 23.6 in 2011-12.

What’s most incredible is that Westbrook is putting up those numbers in just 31.7 minutes of action per game. In NBA history, there have been 68 different seasons entering this year in which a player has averaged a 25-5-5, and all those players averaged at least 36 minutes.

Having lost three of four after their seven-game winning streak, the Thunder are now 2˝ games behind Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the West. That deficit should be no problem for the Thunder if Durant and Westbrook stay healthy based on how well they have played with their stars.

Over the last four seasons, the Thunder have won over 73 percent of their games played by Durant and Westbrook. If they win 73 percent of the rest of their games, the Thunder would comfortably be in the playoffs as the No. 7 seed with 52 wins, based on current standings.

According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Thunder have a 60.5 percent chance of reaching the postseason. If the Thunder do become a playoff team, they will have overcome the worst 15-game start by a Western Conference playoff squad since the 1996-97 Suns rebounded from a 1-14 start to their season.

Of course, most teams that start 3-12, as the Thunder did, can’t rely on stars like Durant and Westbrook to save them.

Westbrook returns by outperforming Knicks

November, 28, 2014
Layne Murdoch/Getty ImagesRussell Westbrook scored 32 points in 24 minutes against the Knicks.
We're one game into the return of Russell Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are already a significantly improved team.

Fresh off his return from a broken hand, Westbrook became the first player in the shot-clock era with 32 points and eight assists in 24 or fewer minutes, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Westbrook started off strong right out of the gate.

Despite playing only 8 minutes, 27 seconds in the first quarter, Westbrook single-handedly outscored the New York Knicks in the first quarter 14-13. He scored or assisted on 10 of the Thunder's 11 field goals while he was on the court in the opening frame.

In the first half, Westbrook was responsible for 35 Thunder points (20 points scored and 15 points created from seven assists). The Knicks as a team had just 33 points.

It was the first time in Westbrook's career he had 20 points and more than five assists in a first half.

Westbrook created 49 points against the Knicks -- 32 from his own scoring and 17 from assists. When he was on the court, the Knicks scored only 36 points as a team. While he was on the court, Westbrook single-handedly had more assists than the Knicks, who were outscored by 24 during that time.

Westbrook has played in only three games this season, so take it for what it's worth, but the Thunder are plus-17 with Westbrook on the court this season and minus-55 while he's not on the floor.

With Westbrook on the court, the Thunder are scoring 14 more points per 100 possessions and allowing four fewer points per 100 possessions than they are when he's on the bench.

Pace and rebounding are also huge differences. With Westbrook, they're averaging seven more possessions per 48 minutes. They're grabbing an incredible 65 percent of available rebounds when he's on the court, compared to a tad less than 50 percent without him.

The 27-point win over the Knicks is by far the largest win of the season for the Thunder. They hadn't won by more than 15 in any of their other four wins.

The Thunder desperately needed Westbrook back. Entering the game, they had a 7.7 percent chance to reach the playoffs, according to It was projected that the No. 8 seed in the West will need to have about 46 wins.

Including the win over the Knicks, the 5-12 Thunder would have to win 41 of their final 65 games to reach 46 wins. That should become a much easier feat once Kevin Durant returns from his broken foot.

The stats behind the ESPY candidates

July, 10, 2014
Adam Pretty/Getty ImagesThis is what they hope to win.
With the ESPY Awards almost upon us, let's take a look at three of the top categories to provide statistical insight into who may walk away with the trophy as Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete and Best Team.

Best Male Athlete
Miguel Cabrera – MLB
Cabrera led the majors in batting average (.348) and finished second in home runs (44) and runs batted in (137). His 9.0 offensive wins above replacement was second in MLB. Cabrera became the first player to win consecutive MVP awards in the AL since Frank Thomas in 1993-94 and just the seventh man in AL history.

Kevin Durant – NBA
Durant was the first player since Shaquille O’Neal in 1999-2000 to lead the NBA in points per game (32.0), player efficiency rating (29.9) and win shares (19.2). Durant also made history this season by becoming the fourth player to average at least 32 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, joining Hall of Fame players Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor.

Peyton Manning – NFL
Manning set the NFL single-season records for passing TDs (55) and passing yards (5,477). Manning had a Total QBR of 95.8 in the red zone as well as an overall Total QBR of 82.9, which ranked second in the league. Manning was spectacular in his first two playoff games, putting up QBR numbers of 91.1 and 88.8 to get to his second Super Bowl.

Floyd Mayweather – Boxing
Mayweather defeated Saul “Canelo” Álvarez by landing almost double the punches (232 to 117) en route to a majority decision victory. That fight also set the record for largest gate in Nevada State Boxing history at over $20 million. Mayweather then defeated Marcos Maidana by majority decision in May. Mayweather landed 54 percent of total punches and 65 percent of power punches. He earned $105 million for the two fights.

Best Female Athlete
Maya Moore – WNBA
Moore was named the 2013 WNBA Finals MVP for the Minnesota Lynx, averaging 20 points per game in a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Dream. Moore was the top three-point shooter in the regular season at 45.3 percent and scored 18.8 points per game, third in the league.

Ronda Rousey – MMA
Rousey moved her MMA record to 10-0 over the past year, recording the first two knockouts of her career in wins over Sara McMann and Alexis Davis. In December, Rousey won her eighth fight by armbar when she defeated Miesha Tate at UFC 168. In her last three fights, Rousey has landed 77 percent of her takedowns.

Mikaela Shiffrin – Alpine Skiing
Shiffrin became the youngest Olympic slalom gold medalist when she won in Sochi at age 18. She ended the 2014 season as the reigning Olympic, World Cup and world champion in slalom. In the 2014 season, Shiffrin won five times and had six podiums in slalom.

Breanna Stewart – WCBB
Stewart led the UConn women’s basketball team to their second national title in a row and in doing so won her second consecutive Final Four Most Outstanding Player award. Stewart led the team in points per game (19.4) and rebounds per game (8.1) and in the national title game scored 21 points (18 in the paint) to lead the Huskies.

Best Team
Boston Red Sox – MLB
The Boston Red Sox won their third World Series in 10 years by leading the majors in runs scored, slugging and OPS. David Ortiz led the charge for the Red Sox, hitting .688 (11-for-16) with two home runs and six RBIs in the World Series while Jon Lester went 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA.

Los Angeles Kings – NHL
The Los Angeles won their second Stanley Cup in three years with Jonathan Quick in net. Quick won 43 games (regular season and playoffs) and posted a 2.07 GAA (fifth-lowest). In the playoffs, Justin Williams took home the Conn Smythe for playoff MVP, scoring nine goals with 16 assists, including the OT winner in Game 1. The Kings had a plus-17 goal differential in the 3rd period/OT (plus-1 in first two periods).

San Antonio Spurs – NBA
The San Antonio Spurs were sixth in both points per game (105.4) and fewest points allowed (97.6) which helped them lead the NBA in wins with 62. The Spurs set the NBA Finals record in the three-point era (since 1979-80) for effective field goal percentage (60.4 percent) and offensive rating (118.5). Tim Duncan became the all-time leader in playoff double-doubles, but Kawhi Leonard was the star. Leonard averaged 17.8 points on 61 percent shooting in the Finals, becoming the second-youngest Finals MVP.

Seattle Seahawks – NFL
The Seattle Seahawks defense ranked first in points per game allowed, receiving yards allowed and total yards allowed. In the Super Bowl, the Seahawks shut the Broncos high-scoring offense down, winning by 35 points which was the third-largest win in Super Bowl history. Russell Wilson threw 26 touchdowns in the regular season and in the Super Bowl put up a Total QBR of 88.1. Richard Sherman led the NFL with eight interceptions and caused the interception that sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl.

UConn Women’s Basketball – WCBB
The Connecticut Huskies are one of eight teams to finish the season undefeated after their 40-0 season. The Huskies finished the season outscoring opponents by 34.3 points per game while holding opponents to just 47.8 points per game. Along with Breanna Stewart, Bria Hartley was second on the team with 16.2 points per game and center Stephanie Dolson scored 17 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Huskies national title win over Notre Dame.

Florida State Football – CFB
Florida State won the national championship and completed at 14-0 undefeated season by averaging 51.6 points per game. On defense, FSU led college football in both interceptions (26) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (5). Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston had an 88.5 adjusted QBR and threw for over 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. He threw the game-winning touchdown pass in the national title game to Kelvin Benjamin, who was second on the team in receiving yards (1,011) and led the team with 15 touchdowns.

Spurs advance to NBA Finals

June, 1, 2014

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)Gregg Popovich (left) and Tim Duncan (right) advanced to the NBA Finals for the sixth time.
Game 6 was different than any other contest in the 2014 Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. After the first five games were decided by an average margin of 20.4 points per game, Game 6 was decided in overtime. After 23 lead changes and ties over the first five games, Game 6 featured 31 lead changes and ties. And that was just the beginning.

Spurs share the ball well, Thunder do not
The Spurs won the game by sharing the basketball, while the Thunder got 95 percent of their points from four players: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka. Only five players scored for the Thunder in Game 6, and those players attempted 78 of the team's 82 field goals. All 11 players who logged time for the Spurs in Game 6 shot the ball, and all but one scored.

San Antonio scored 51 bench points compared to just 5 for Oklahoma City, with the 46-point bench differential setting the mark for the largest in any game this season (regular season and playoffs).

A breakdown of each team’s half-court offense illustrates the offensive contrast. The Spurs had 288 passes on 105 half-court plays, while the Thunder had 137 on 100 half-court plays. One one hand, the 1.4 passes per play for the Thunder in Game 6 was their lowest of the series. On the other hand, the 2.7 passes per play for the Spurs was just above their average (2.5). Oklahoma City had 62 plays with one or fewer passes, while San Antonio had 31.

Thunder duo still dynamic
Lost in the shadow of defeat was a tremendous scoring effort from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Both scored at least 30 points in the same game for the eighth time in their postseason careers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that surpasses Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal for the second-most such games by a pair of teammates in NBA playoff history.

Westbrook had another stellar game in his own right. For the second time this postseason, Westbrook posted at least 30 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals in the same game, joining Michael Jordan as the only players with multiple 30-5-5-5 games in a single postseason. Jordan did so twice, in both 1989 (4) and 1990 (3).

Spurs reach NBA Finals
For the first time in franchise history, the Spurs will make back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals. This marks the sixth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history, all of which have come in the Tim Duncan-Gregg Popovich era.

Lurking in the NBA Finals are familiar foes in the Miami Heat, who defeated the Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals in seven games. This marks the first NBA Finals rematch since the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz met in consecutive Finals in 1997 and 1998.

San Antonio displayed great resilience, becoming the first team since 1988-89 Pistons to make it back to the NBA Finals after losing a Game 7 in the Finals the prior year. Spurs fans are hoping they emulate the success of the Bad Boys, as the Pistons won the 1989 Finals after suffering that Game 7 defeat in 1988.

Top stats to know: Thunder 105, Spurs 92

May, 28, 2014
The Oklahoma City Thunder got even with the San Antonio Spurs with their second straight easy win, tying the Western Conference finals, 2-2.

Once again, this was a vastly different game than the ones played in San Antonio, as the Thunder dominated throughout.

Westbrook’s amazing game
Russell Westbrook finished with 40 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and five steals. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that he’s the second player to have a 40-point, 10-assist, five-steal game in postseason play, the first since Michael Jordan in 1989.

This was Westbrook's third 30-point, 10-assist game this postseason. Elias notes that only three players have had more such games in a single postseason -- Jordan with seven in 1989, Jerry West for the Los Angeles Lakers with six in 1970 and Oscar Robertson with five for the 1963 Cincinnati Royals.

Westbrook’s 40 points were one more than the total scored by the Spurs' starting five.

Durant plays Robin to Westbrook’s Batman
Kevin Durant also had a huge game for the Thunder, finishing with 31 points.

Per Elias, Westbrook and Durant each scored 30 points and shot at least 50 percent in a playoff game together for the third time. The only other teammates to do that multiple times in the postseason together over the past 10 years are LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (three times) along with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan (twice)

It's the third time in 71 postseason games together that Durant and Westbrook had no turnovers in the first half. It's the first time they've ever combined for at least 30 points and zero turnovers in the first half of a playoff game.

Difference-maker: transition play
The Thunder outscored the Spurs 29-6 in transition and 21-0 in fast-break points.

The Thunder had 24 transition points before the Spurs had any.

OKC made 11 of its 18 transition shots. San Antonio only attempted three such shots in the game, making two.

Entering the game, the Spurs and Thunder had each scored 37 points in transition, with the Thunder logging just two more plays in those situations.

Popovich can’t win in Oklahoma City
The Spurs have lost nine straight games to the Thunder in Oklahoma City, including the regular season and playoffs. That is the longest road losing streak for the Spurs against any team under Gregg Popovich.

Oddity of the night
Manu Ginobili scored five points for the Spurs. He now has 2,674 career playoff points, surpassing NBA legend Bill Russell for the most playoff points by a left-handed player.

Former Spurs star David Robinson ranks third with 2,221.

Looking ahead
The Game 5 winner of a tied best-of-seven series goes on to win the series 82 percent of the time.

Top stats to know: Spurs 112, Thunder 77

May, 22, 2014
Danny Green was lights-out from 3-point range again.
The San Antonio Spurs made it look easy ... again.

The Spurs routed the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-77 in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.

It was the third-largest playoff win in Spurs history and tied for the worst playoff loss for the Thunder.

The Spurs improved to 8-1 at home this postseason, with seven straight home wins.

The Spurs have outscored the Thunder by 52 points through two games, the most a team has ever outscored its opponent in the first two games of a conference finals.

Difference-Maker: Danny Green
Danny Green tied his playoff career high with seven 3-pointers (he had seven in Game 3 of last season’s NBA Finals against the Heat).

Green is now 15 for 21 on 3-point attempts in the last three games, with at least four made 3-pointers in each game.

The Spurs are 17-0 this season (combining regular season and postseason) when Green makes at least four 3-pointers in a game.

Spurs dominate the paint
The Spurs scored 54 points in the paint in Game 2 after scoring 66 paint points in Game 1. This is the first time this postseason they've scored at least 50 points in the paint in consecutive games.

San Antonio has scored 46 more points in the paint than the Thunder in the first two games of the series.

Durant and Westbrook make a minimal impact
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to shoot 13 for 40 for the Thunder in Game 2.

Durant has had a hard time getting easy looks this series.

In fact, 64 of his 84 offensive touches against the Spurs have originated above the free-throw line. This has led to a near four-foot increase in average shot distance this series compared to the first two rounds of the playoffs.

The Thunder were outscored by 34 points with Westbrook on the floor, giving him his worst plus-minus in any game in his career.

Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Night
The Spurs now have the winningest trio in NBA postseason history. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have played in 111 postseason wins together, one more than Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper.

Looking Ahead
The Spurs are 18-2 in best-of-7 series when leading 2-0 in the Gregg Popovich era. Their only series losses came in the 2004 conference semifinals versus the Lakers and 2012 conference finals versus the Thunder.

Teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-7 series with double-digit wins in each game go on to win the series 95 percent of the time (77-4).

Durant carries Thunder to Western Finals

May, 16, 2014

Richard Mackson/USA TODAY SportsKevin Durant started slow, but came alive to record his 9th 30-point game of this postseason.

Kevin Durant did it again. The NBA's 2013-14 MVP stepped up when his team needed its go-to guy. Durant netted his ninth 30-point game of the postseason. No other player has more than four this postseason.

With Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder advancing to the Western Conference Finals, here's how Durant (and the Thunder) got there and what to expect against the San Antonio Spurs.

Joins some exclusive lists
With his 39 points Thursday night, Durant joined a nice list. Durant trails only Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson for the most points per game averaged in potential series-clinching games.

Another impressive list? The last five players to record a 35-15-5 playoff game:

Durant (twice), LeBron James (twice) and Carmelo Anthony. Durant finished Game 6 with 39 points, 16 rebounds and five assists.

And one more. Since 1990, only three players have posted 35-15-5 in series-clinching wins. Durant, Hakeem Olajuwon (twice) and Michael Jordan.

Overcomes slow start
Durant was held to only three points on 1 of 7 shooting in the first quarter. In the final three quarters, Durant dropped 36 points on 11 of 16 shooting.

Durant found his success by figuring out Matt Barnes. Barnes shut down Durant in Game 5 (Durant shot 2 of 14 against Barnes, including 0 of 11 on jump shots). And Barnes was on his way to doing it again.

In the first quarter, Durant was defended by Barnes the entire time, extending his shooting slump to 3 of 21 in the last five quarters against the Clipper stopper. But in the final three quarters, Durant scored 19 points against Barnes (7 of 10 shooting).

On to San Antonio
Durant and the Thunder move on to the Western Conference Finals to face the San Antonio Spurs.

Durant and his teammates should be up to the challenge.

The Spurs "held" Durant to 26.3 points per game (his fewest against any opponent he faced more than twice) in their four meetings during the regular season.

However, the Thunder swept all four meetings against the Spurs, winning all four by at least six points.

Top stats to know: Thunder at Clippers

May, 15, 2014

AP Photo/Sue OgrockiCan Matt Barnes stop Kevin Durant again in Game 6 tonight?
After two improbable comebacks in the last two games, what will the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder give us tonight in a must-win Game 6 for the home team (10:30 ET on ESPN)?

The Clippers are trying to stave off elimination and force a decisive Game 7, while the Thunder are looking to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the third time in the last four seasons.

How to stop Durant
If the Clippers are going to have any chance of winning, they’ll have to slow down Kevin Durant. Durant is averaging 30.8 points per game in the playoffs this season, the highest scoring average among all players.

However, the Clippers can find some hope in that Durant missed 16 of his 22 shots in Game 5. Matt Barnes served as Durant’s primary defender on nearly 80 percent of his half-court plays in Game 5 and Durant went just 2 of 14 from the field against Barnes.

Barnes was especially effective at forcing Durant into jump shots and getting a hand in his face while shooting.

Durant settled for a jumper on 11 of his 14 attempts against Barnes, missing all 11 of those jump shots.

Barnes was able to effectively close down on Durant, as all of Durant’s jumpers in Game 5 versus Barnes were pull-up attempts and nine of those 11 jumpers were contested.

Historic Duo
Durant and Russell Westbrook have been a two-man show for the Thunder in the playoffs, accounting for a combined 58 points per game and 56 percent of the team’s total points.

Their combined scoring average would be the highest by any player-duo in the postseason since Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant combined for 59.1 points per game in the 2003 playoffs.

The two have been even better in this series, with Durant averaging 32.0 points and Westbrook putting up 29.6 per game.

If the two both average at least 30 points per game for the series, they’d become just the fourth pair of teammates in NBA postseason history to accomplish that feat, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Even by himself, Westbrook is having a historic postseason. Averaging 27.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 8.1 assists, Westbrook is on pace to join Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average at least 27 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in a single postseason.

Clippers long odds
Chris Paul has transformed the Clippers franchise since coming to L.A. three seasons ago – their 12 playoff wins since acquiring Paul are one more than they had in the previous 27 seasons combined.

Yet Paul and the Clippers still have one thing in common: they have never made a Conference Finals. The Clippers are 0-5 all-time in Conference Semifinal series while Paul has lost his two previous Conference Semifinal appearances.

If beating the MVP and the number two seed in the Western Conference isn’t hard enough, the Clippers also must overcome this looming statistic to reach their first Conference Finals: they are 0-5 all-time in best-of-7 series when trailing 3-2.

Keys to victory: Thunder 105, Clippers 104

May, 14, 2014
With each game in this series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers, the storylines get more and more remarkable.

This time, it was the Thunder’s turn. They capped their comeback win with a 17-3 game-ending run, scoring those points on nine memorable possessions.

There was controversy with regards to questions about the officiating, but it was an amazing triumph for the Thunder nonetheless.

How the heck did that happen?
What were the keys to the Thunder’s comeback?

Kevin Durant scored 10 of his 27 points in the final four minutes and had as many field goals (3) on five shots as he did on the 17 shots he attempted in the first 44 minutes of the game.

Five of the Clippers' six field goal attempts in the last four minutes were pull-up jump shots. They were 1 of 5 on such shots, which led to long rebounds.

Seven of Thunder's 17 points in the last four minutes came in transition, five of which came straight from Clippers' misses on pull-up jumpers.

Chris Paul turned the ball over five times in the game, including twice in the final 13 seconds. In 138 minutes in clutch time this season (less than five minutes left, and the score within five points), Paul turned the ball over only seven times.

Westbrook’s big game
Russell Westbrook finished with 38 points, his most in a game this postseason, including three free throws in the final seconds to put the Thunder ahead.

That Westbrook made all three was not that surprising. Westbrook is an 85 percent free-throw shooter in clutch-time situatons.
Up until the four minute mark of the fourth quarter, Westbrook had scored 18 of Thunder's 36 points in the second half. He was especially aggressive when guarded by Paul. Westbrook drove four times against Paul and scored on every one of his drives.

Of Westbrook’s 18 points during that time, 12 came when he did not defer to his teammates. He had nine possessions in which he initiated and finished the offense, compared to six possessions where there were passes involved in the play.

Overall, he was 7 of 12 in what we’ll call "one-man offense" compared to 4 of 11 playing within "team offense."

Keys to comeback: Clippers 101, Thunder 99

May, 11, 2014

The Clippers were the longest of longshots to win on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Clippers staged one of the most remarkable comebacks in NBA playoff history, coming back from a 29-7 deficit and a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 101-99, and even their series, 2-2.

The Clippers have been involved in each of the three comebacks from 20-point deficits in postseason play and have won two of them.

The Spurs have the other win-- they rallied to beat the Clippers in 2012.

The final quarter
The Clippers trailed by 12 points at the start of the fourth quarter but outscored the Thunder by 14 to win. How did they do it?

They made as many shots in the restricted area in the fourth quarter (12 out of 14 attempts) as they did in the first three (12 of 25).

Instead of settling for jump shots, they attacked the lane in the fourth quarter, scoring eight points on drives and an additional 14 in transition.

Blake Griffin replaced DeAndre Jordan with 8:44 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Clippers down by 14 points, joining Chris Paul, Darren Collison, Jamal Crawford and Danny Granger. During that time, the Clippers scored 33 points, shot 12 of 15 and outscored the Thunder by 16 points.

To try to combat this, the Thunder also went with a small lineup of Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Caron Butler, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. In the 5:47 they were on the court together, they were outscored 21-8, shooting 2 of 7 and committing three turnovers.

Durant scored five points in the fourth when guarded by Chris Paul, but also had three of his eight turnovers as the Clippers mounted their comeback.

Paint, bench scoring key
The Clippers outscored the Thunder 52 to 32 in the paint. The 20-point differential was the biggest of the series.

The Clippers' bench scored 40 points, the most it has scored in the series.

Clippers reserve Darren Collison scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter. The 18 points was his second-highest total of postseason career.

Another way in which this was an unlikely win
The Clippers won despite making only 3 of 21 three-point shots.

In the last 25 seasons, teams that shot less than 14.5 percent from three-point range have won only three of 19 games.

The final shot
Westbrook missed the game-winning three-point attempt as time expired in Game 4.

Should Durant have had the ball in his hands in the final seconds?

Westbrook is now 1 for 8 on game-tying/go-ahead shots in the final 24 seconds of playoff games, while Durant is 5 of 15 on those shots.

Kevin Durant had one touch in the final 90 seconds of the game.

He had the ball for a total of one second in the final 90 seconds -- he was double-teamed as soon as he caught it and passed it right back out.

Keys to victory: Thunder 118, Clippers 112

May, 10, 2014
For the third straight time in the series, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers both topped 100 points, as the Thunder won 118-112 in Los Angeles.

The Thunder did something Friday that they had never done as a franchise. They won Game 3 on the road when the series was tied at a game apiece. They had lost the four previous times they played such a game.

Durant, Thunder dominant inside
Kevin Durant scored 30 points for the seventh time in this year’s playoffs. That’s as many as any other two players combined.

He was successful close to the basket on Friday, scoring 20 points from 10 feet and in, breaking his previous playoff high of 18 such points. He had only scored 12 such points in the first two games of the series.

Durant wasn’t the only player who was successful close to the basket. The Thunder scored a postseason high 52 points in the paint, outscoring the Clippers in the paint for the second straight game.

Russell Westbrook fell two rebounds short of recording his second straight triple-double, but he did reach double digits in assists in back-to-back playoff games for the first time in his career.

Paul comes up big in losing effort
In a losing effort, Chris Paul scored 21 points and handed out 16 assists without recording a turnover.

In the last 25 years, only two players have had 20 points, 15 assists and zero turnovers in a playoff game -- Magic Johnson in 1991 and Chris Paul twice (tonight and in 2008 against the Dallas Mavericks).

The only players to have more assists without a turnover in the playoffs in that span are Rajon Rondo (19 in 2009) and Magic Johnson (17 in 1991).

Looking ahead to Sunday
The Thunder are 1-0 when leading a best-of-7 series two games to one. The Clippers have lost all four series that the have trailed two games to one.

Keys to victory: Thunder 112, Clippers 101

May, 8, 2014
This was one of those days in which the combination of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was just too much for their opponents to handle.

The Oklahoma City Thunder evened their semifinal with the Los Angeles Clippers with a convincing win in Game 2.

The Thunder snapped their five-game conference semifinal losing streak.

Westbrook takes it upon himself
Westbrook scored 21 of his 31 points when he did not pass the ball during the possession, including 17 of his 19 first-half points.

In the playoffs, he has been more effective when he has not deferred to his teammates, shooting 49 percent on possessions in which he doesn’t pass the ball and 37 percent on possessions in which he did pass it.

Westbrook had his third triple-double of the postseason. No one else in the NBA has any.

Westbrook is the fifth player in last 25 seasons with at least three triple-doubles in a single postseason (Rajon Rondo (twice), Jason Kidd, LeBron James and Magic Johnson)

Durant handles Barnes
Kevin Durant had his 28th career postseason game scoring at least 30 points, his sixth this postseason (the most in the NBA).

Durant was 8 for 11 for 21 points against Matt Barnes, after being held to 4 of 9 and 11 points by Barnes in Game 1.

Ibaka thwarts Griffin
Serge Ibaka continued his defensive excellence against Blake Griffin, who scored 7 points on 3-of-11 shooting when guarded by Ibaka in Game 2. Ibaka has held Griffin to 6 of 21 shooting and one field goal inside 10 feet this series. Griffin led the league with 6.6 such makes per game during the regular season.

Griffin is 6 for 8 against other defenders in this series.

Looking ahead
There have been 203 best-of-7 series that have been tied 1-1. The Game 3 winner goes on to win the series 76 percent of the time (154-49).

Keys to victory: Clippers 122, Thunder 105

May, 6, 2014
The Los Angeles Clippers had a surprisingly easy night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Clippers snapped the Thunder’s six-game winning streak in Game 1s played at home with an easy win.

Difference-Maker: Chris Paul
Clippers point guard Chris Paul had arguably the best game of his NBA career, making 12 of 14 shots, including a career high eight three-pointers (he’d never made more than five in any game.

He finished with 32 points and 10 assists.

Paul is the first player to have 30 points, 10 assists and shoot 75 percent or better from the field in a playoff game since Michael Jordan for the Chicago Bulls in 1991.

Paul made pull-up jump shots against eight different Thunder defenders in the game.

Paul went 51 for 156 from three-point range in his first 53 games of the season. In the last 17, he is 52 for 102.

Durant and Westbrook can’t get it done
Kevin Durant scored 25 points for the Thunder, but the team was outscored by 26 points with him on the floor. The minus-26 was a career postseason worst for him.

Including playoffs, Durant has had a plus/minus of minus-10 or worse 109 times in his career, and the Thunder have lost every single one of those games.

Russell Westbrook finished with 29 points, but they were of little impact.
The Thunder are 0-4 this postseason when Westbrook scores more than 27 points (4-0 with 27 or fewer points).

Thunder don’t play their best defense
The Clippers shot 55 percent in the half court in Game 1. The Thunder held opponents to 43 percent shooting in half court situations during the regular season, fourth best in the NBA.

Next Level nuggets from Saturday

April, 20, 2014
It was a wild opening to the NBA playoffs. Three of the four games were won by road teams, just the second time in NBA history that three road teams won Game 1 of the First Round on the first day of the postseason. It also happened in 1996.

Playoff games are all about matchups. Here are the biggest ones from the four Saturday games.

Nets 94, Raptors 87

Paul Pierce
The story of this game was Paul Pierce, who scored nine of his 15 points in the 4th quarter. Seven of those nine points were scored when Patrick Patterson was the primary defender.

DeMar DeRozan, however, had a much more disappointing day. He was 3-for-13 from the floor, including 1-for-9 on jump shots.

DeRozan averaged 9.6 points per game on jump shots during the regular season, tied for seventh best in the NBA..

Warriors 109, Clippers 105

Chris Paul scored 28 points Saturday, but struggled with Klay Thompson as his primary defender. Paul missed his first eight shots when guarded by Thompson, who also forced three of his six turnovers.

But Doc Rivers and the Clippers shouldn't want Paul to score that much. They now have seven wins and five losses this season when Paul scores 25 points or more. They're 37-12 when Paul scores fewer than 25.

Hawks 101, Pacers 93

Jeff Teague helped to snap the Hawks eight-game road playoff losing streak, scoring 28 points, a new playoff career high. 78 percent of his field goal attempts came on drives, and he scored 20 points on those shots (including free throws).

Teague averaged just 5.6 points per game on drives during the regular season.

Roy Hibbert, however, continued to struggle. Hibbert was 4-for-9 from the floor Saturday and has not made a shot outside the paint since April 4.

In his first 77 games this season, he shot 40 percent on such shots.

Thunder 100, Grizzlies 86

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant had 33 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. That makes nine straight postseason games where Durant had 20 points, five rebounds and five assists, tied for the fourth-longest streak in NBA history.

The only Grizzlies player that could contain Durant Saturday was Tony Allen. He held Durant to 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting (36 percent) Saturday, but Durant scored 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting (73 percent) against everyone else.

But we all knew Durant is good and would be tough to stop. What we didn't know was how bad the Grizzlies would be outside of the paint.

Memphis missed its first 18 shots from outside the paint Saturday before hitting their last attempt of the second quarter. The Thunder outscored the Grizzlies 23-3 outside the paint in the first half, making up most of Memphis' 22-point halftime deficit.