Oklahoma City wins series 4-2 (Game 2 of 6)

Oklahoma City wins series 4-2

Game 1: Monday, May 5th
Game 2: Wednesday, May 7th
Game 3: Friday, May 9th
Game 4: Sunday, May 11th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 13th
Game 6: Thursday, May 15th

Clippers 101

(57-25, 23-18 away)

Thunder 112

(59-23, 34-7 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    9:30 PM ET, May 7, 2014

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 28 28 21 24101
    OKC 37 24 33 18112

    Top Performers

    LAC: C. Paul 17 Pts, 5 Reb, 10 Ast, 3 Stl

    Okc: R. Westbrook 31 Pts, 10 Reb, 10 Ast, 3 Stl

    Clippers-Thunder Preview

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Chris Paul is usually about assists -- he led the league in that category this season, and his popular television commercials focus on them.

    He helped his team in a surprisingly different way Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. The point guard made eight 3-pointers against the Oklahoma City Thunder -- three more than he had ever made in an NBA game -- to help the Clippers win 122-105.

    Paul, who only missed one 3-pointer and finished with 32 points, said fans should not expect a similar explosion in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

    "The next game, I might have 12 points, 10 points, maybe not even that many," he said Tuesday. "I think I'm one of those people -- whatever it takes to win. I don't care. I'm never going to lead the league in scoring or anything like that. It's just whatever to try to win."

    Paul, who finished seventh in the MVP voting despite missing nearly one-quarter of the season with a shoulder injury, has been a capable scorer throughout his career. He averaged 19.1 points this season, and has averaged 18.6 points over his nine NBA seasons. Clippers forward Blake Griffin believes Paul could be even more of a scorer.

    "A night like last night shows what he can do offensively," Griffin said. "There's dialogue sometimes for him to get more aggressive like he was last night because he can do that almost every game. We tell him to be aggressive, but his whole thing is getting other guys the ball."

    Paul's shooting leaves the Thunder with an unexpected problem. The Clippers have plenty of offensive weapons -- Griffin, who finished third in the MVP balloting, and Jamal Crawford, the league's Sixth Man of the Year, immediately come to mind. Add perimeter players Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick and Darren Collison, the inside game of DeAndre Jordan and Paul as a more assertive threat from the outside, and the Clippers might be more dangerous than the team that led the NBA in scoring during the regular season.

    "When he's hitting 3s like that, it's tough," Thunder forward Nick Collison said of Paul. "We can definitely make it more difficult on him than we did (Monday). I think that's where our focus is going to be, is how can we defend better?"

    Paul scored 17 points and made five 3-pointers in the final 6:21 of the first quarter in Game 1, matching his career high for 3-pointers in a game in the first 12 minutes. By the end of the barrage, the Clippers had turned a 16-13 deficit into a 39-25 lead.

    "When a guy hits five or six 3s in a row, you don't want to give him some more, and that is when they started to get some stuff in the paint," said Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who was named MVP on Tuesday.

    Overall, the Clippers made 15 of 29 3-point attempts.

    "The effort was there," Durant said. "We had good intentions, but they got hot. We have got to correct it. We have to make them miss next game and be a little bit more physical."

    Paul said his shots came from good ball movement and good screens.

    "It wasn't like I was making unbelievable shots, it was because the court was open," he said. "When I had two defenders I gave it to Blake, and that's what put so much pressure on the defense because BG (Griffin) is such a great passer."

    Clippers coach Doc Rivers said teamwork was the key to the offense's success Monday night. Los Angeles shot 55 percent and committed just nine turnovers.

    "The ball didn't stick," he said. "The ball moved. Everything was quick. Quick decisions, quick drives, quick shots. There was not a lot of hesitation. If we play like that, we'll be good."

    Though it was a good start, the Clippers say there's a long way to go if they are to reach the Western Conference finals for the first time.

    "You don't read too much into it because it's still Game 1 of the series," Rivers said. "With us, I don't think you can get too high or too low. You've just got to keep coming out and playing. You might get those same shots tomorrow and they not go in."


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    Research Notes

    Durant is the first player since Allen Iverson in 2000-01 to win both the scoring title and MVP award. The last player to win the scoring title, MVP and NBA title in the same season was Shaquille O'Neal in 1999-00.
    Kevin Durant averaged 32.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists this season. He was just the 4th player in NBA history to average at least 32.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in a single season - Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Michael Jordan (once) and Elgin Baylor (once).
    Both the Wizards and Clippers will be on the road tonight trying to go up 2-0. 18 of the previous 21 teams to win the first 2 games of a best-of-7 series on the road went on to advance. The only 3 teams to overcome that deficit were the 1968-69 Lakers, 1993-94 Rockets and 2004-05 Mavericks.
    Durant led the league in total points for the 5th straight season. He's 1 of 3 players in NBA history that has accomplished that feat - Michael Jordan (7 straight) and Wilt Chamberlain (7 straight).
    * Durant averaged 32.0 PPG while shooting 50.3 percent from the field. He was the first player to average 30+ PPG and shoot 50.0 percent from the field since Michael Jordan in 1991-92. * Durant's scoring average of 32.0 was the highest by a player since 2005-06 (Kobe Bryant-35.4, Allen Iverson-33.0). * Durant registered 47 30-point games this season, by far the most in the league and tied for his career high (2009-10). LeBron James ranked 2nd in that category with 31 30-point games. * Durant averaged 4.6 more points per game than Carmelo Anthony, who came in 2nd in the scoring title race. It was the 3rd-largest gap between first and second in scoring average dating back to 1969-70 when the champion was first decided by points per game. Only Michael Jordan (8.1 PPG over Dominique Wilkins in 1986-87) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6.6 PPG over Tiny Archibald in 1971-72) finished with larger margins.
    Kevin Durant was guarded by Matt Barnes on 53% of his plays Wednesday and had better success than he did in Game 1.
    The Thunder held a 17-9 advantage in second-chance points. They have improved to 42-16 when having a better offensive rebounding percentage.
    Russell Westbrook scored 21 of his 31 points when he did not pass the ball during the possession Wednesday, including 17 of his 19 first-half points. In the playoffs, he has been more effective when he has not deferred to his teammates.
    Game score gives a rough measure of a player's productivity for a single game where 40 is outstanding and 10 is average. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for a 57.5 game score in yesterday's win against the Clippers. Dating back to 2006, it was the 4th time teammates each had a game score of at least 27... Durant has been a part of 3 of them.
    Serge Ibaka continued his defensive excellence against Blake Griffin, who scored 7 points on 3-of-11 shooting when guarded by Ibaka Wednesday. Ibaka has held Griffin to one field goal inside 10 feet this series. Griffin led the league with 6.6 such makes per game during the regular season.
    Kevin Durant (OKC): 17 Pts in 1st qtr were his most in a 1st quarter this postseason... Previous high was 14 in Game 6 of 1st round at Memphis
    Derek Fisher has now registered 156 career playoff victories, moving past Robert Horry (155) for the most in NBA history.

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