Earlier this week, I wrote a piece explaining why the Oklahoma City Thunder would have an easier time getting past the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. Ironically, that was same day Chris Paul decided to go on a 3-point shooting binge to lead the Clippers to a stunning rout of the Thunder in Game 1.
I was ridiculed for my article. People thought I was crazy for picking OKC to easily dispatch the Clippers in the second round. It was easy to see their point, as the Clippers looked very much like a title contender with their dominating play.
But in reality, the Clippers have the same problem as the Portland Trail Blazers. Just like the Blazers, the Clippers were the “sexy” pick to get to the Western Conference Finals after battling through adversity to beat the Golden State Warriors in a hard-fought seven-game series.
So it was natural to think that if the Clippers could survive that distraction, then the Thunder would be a piece of cake. But just as the Blazers and NBA pundits drastically underestimated the San Antonio Spurs, the Clippers and NBA pundits alike drastically underestimated the Thunder after their Game 1 rout.
Somebody forgot to tell the Clippers that the Thunder were much more than just the Kevin Durant Show. After their Game 1 meltdown, the Thunder have reverted back into the team many picked to get back to the NBA Finals. OKC is showing their swagger again, and it is not just Durant and Russell Westbrook doing all of the heavy duty work. The entire team has stepped up their game to race out to a 2-1 series lead.
The Thunder have their swagger back, and in the process have shown the Clippers that they are still the team to beat in the west.