2014 NBA Playoffs: Thunder Blow Huge Opportunity To Take Control of Clippers

Oklahoma City Thunder

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder came into Sunday’s game four against the Los Angeles Clippers with not a whole lot to lose, and a bunch to gain.

They led nearly the entire game, and by as many as 22. The Thunder were even up 16 points with nine minutes to go. Ultimately, they blew it. You have to tip your cap to Darren Collison, who carried the Clippers to victory, but there’s just no excuse for losing a lead of that size.

It’s really tough to even point the finger at anybody specifically on the OKC roster for this game four meltdown. It’s kind of head-scratching why Russell Westbrook was taking all the shots down the final stretch for the Thunder, but he did come within an inch of hitting the game-winner.

Looking at the big picture, the Thunder couldn’t close out because they stopped moving the ball and they didn’t get quality shots in the final mintures. Part of that is because of the Clippers defense, but again — 16 point lead. Inexcusable.

Another MVP-caliber game from Kevin Durant would be just the ticket for the West’s top seed on Tuesday night in game five. Ideally, he’d be the guy taking the game-winning shot, but if gets 40 again the Thunder can’t complain.

All is not lost with this huge meltdown. OKC is still in great shape heading home and a game five win would erase the poor closing effort in game four. No one said championship runs were easy, and this is just yet another test for the rising Thunder.

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