The preview of what should be the Western Conference finals series between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder had the excitement of a playoff atmosphere predicated on a Thunder team playing without their lumbering center Kendrick Perkins, and opting to make the game a track meet between two of the most athletic squads in the NBA.
The Clippers shot out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter, but were outscored by the Thunder by 16 points in the quarter, sparked by a fury of Russell Westbrook who set the pace. Yet, the game took its biggest turn when the Clippers’ Matt Barnes entered the game as the team’s enforcer and instigated an NBA scuffle — which means no one actually fights — and got the Thunder’s, Serge Ibaka ejected with seconds left in the half.
The Clippers and the Thunder are two teams that mirror one an other in depth, lack of size and need for a third scorer. Yet, if the clippers do indeed face the Thunder in late spring, they’ll have to find an answer for Westbrook. The high volume point guard may be the toughest matchup in the league for the Clippers’ Chris Paul.
Westbrook’s power, size and speed make for long nights on the defensive end, but if anyone can weather such a storm, it would be Paul. But to do it in a seven-games series against the Thunder? It may be a bit much to ask.
ChristopherBrown is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @whatrockschris. Like him on Facebook. Christopher-Rant Sports.