It may not look like it at times, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are proving they have the offensive firepower to return to the Western Conference Championship series. As much as many people would like to see the Los Angeles Clippers rise to the occasion, it appears the Thunder’s flexing of their muscles is too much to overcome in the Western semifinals.
The combination of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook looks to be more lethal than that of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, although both duos are putting on a great show. But what really makes Oklahoma City dangerous is that other players are taking part in the scoring, which ultimately could be the downfall of any team that faces them for the remainder of the season.
“They got everything,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said, according to ESPN. “They got 3s, layups, key second shots. Down the stretch, they made every big play. We had shots, too, and they didn’t go in. We put way too much pressure on our offense because our defense wasn’t working.”
The Thunder’s defense isn’t any better. However, that’s just fine by them because their offense is working overtime. Five players scored at least 14 points in Friday night’s 118-112 win. That includes Durant converting an efficient 14-for-24 from the field for an impressive 36 points. Apparently, “Mr. Unreliable” is on a mission.
Even though the series will return to the Staples Center where the home crowd should help their cause, Los Angeles doesn’t appear to have enough offense to overcome what Oklahoma City is capable of delivering. In fact, it looks as if their Game 1 blowout win is nothing more than a distant memory.
There’s no question the Clippers have the necessary talent to push the Thunder to the brink. Unfortunately, their defense just doesn’t look to be up to the task.