After a rough first round for both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers, each team is trying to refocus their energy for the new task at hand in round two of the 2014 NBA playoffs. With little time to prepare for the approaching matchup with “Lob City”, the Thunder have to go with the coaching move that saved them in Game 7 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Thunder’s Coach Scott Brooks made an interesting decision that began in Game 6. It included Caron Butler as the starting shooting guard and benching the Thabo Sefolosha for the entire game. The move by Brooks proved to be successful as Butler produced 22 points in his two starting appearances.
It seems as though Brooks has elected to go with the offensive production that Butler has the ability to supply rather than the defensive prowess that Sefolosha has been known for in the past. The Thunder have been struggling to get any scoring from anyone besides Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, so the move was justified. Butler shot 40 percent from three and 85 percent from the free throw line in round one.
It is assumed that the Clippers will try to imitate the defensive schemes employed by the Grizzlies on Durant, possibly using Matt Barnes as a pesky defender and forcing Westbrook into dominating the ball. Butler will be the difference in this series if he can knock down the three ball and get to the free throw line sparingly enough.
The Thunder are at their best when the scoring load is not piled onto their superstar duo, and if Brooks elects to keep the lineup change, Oklahoma City’s chances in “Loud City” are as good as ever.