When push comes to shove, are the Clippers the real deal? It certainly looked that way in game 1. This series is going to be long one, and now that the Thunder lost home court advantage it is going to a tough one. I’m talking about the Thunder and the Clippers, a series that hopefully won’t be as disappointing as the first game.
Los Angeles Clippers Vs Oklahoma City Thunder
Game one was an eye opener for the Thunder. Like I stated many times before, the Clippers are a volatile team. There are times that it does not look like they can miss a shot and the term “Lob City” takes on its true meaning. There are times they miss every shot and turn into Brick City. If one thing is for sure, the Clippers rely on their fearless leader, Chris (not to be confused with his twin Cliff) Paul and strong play from Blake Griffin like they did during game one. Will CP3 shoot make 8 three-point shots again? I don’t think so. Do the Thunder need to become more physical and aggressive? Hell yeah. If they do not then Kevin Durant winning the MVP trophy won’t mean much because they will be experiencing the rest of the series at home. During the regular season these two teams split their series match up 2 games a piece so it needs to be said that these teams know each other. It is also important to note that these teams do not match up that well – the Thunder should have the advantage because they the are longer across the board and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combine for 56.1 points during the postseason, yet the Clippers play better defense and get off to fast starts. This is going to be a tick for tack series that begs the question ; who has the advantage?
Who has the edge?
The biggest reason is because of their head coach Doc Rivers. He is a decent executor in the fourth quarter and let’s be honest, he has a very good control of this team, better control than Vinny Del Negro ever had. In late game situations I’ll take Chris Paul over Russell Westbrook everyday of the week – his poise and control of the offense tempo in the fourth is some what unmatched in the NBA. No, Paul is not going to shoot you out of a game, but he is going to systematically and patiently pick apart your defense with timely passing and excellent basketball IQ. Not to mention Doc Rivers knows how to conduct a defense, utilizing DeAndre Jordan more frequently in defending the pick and roll. Doc Rivers also makes great use of the bench, a bench depth the Thunder do not have. so then….
Who comes out on top?
The OKC Thunder.
Reading up to this point you expected me to say the Clippers. That’s probably because I said they have the edge, which they do. Doc Rivers is a better coach than Scott Brooks. However Scottie has two of the games most prolific scorers in the NBA in Westbrook and Durant. And that is something you can not over look. In late close games I like the Thunder over the Clippers. Both Durant and Westbrook love taking the big shots, and the lack of a go to scorer is why the Clippers will not win this series. I totally see this series going 7 games, but what this series will come down to is Kevin Durant playing like he has all season. He is the MVP after all. While the Thunder got off on the wrong foot Monday, it does need to be stated that the play a more consistent brand of basketball then the Clippers tend to do. The Clippers are a 3 point shooting team, but we all know that 3 point shooting is a two-edged sword. Kevin Durant is averaging 29.3 points a game and those points usually come in at the right time ( For reference see game 7 against the Grizzlies) and while the defense of the Clippers has improved greatly since last year, I don’t believe they will be able to stop the Durant/Westbrook combo. That’s a job for the Spurs.
So I have the Thunder winning in 7. (4-3)
Side note: Fun drinking game, take a shot every time somebody references Donald Sterling during each game, you are insured for a good time!