Clippers Vs. Thunder Game 2
Lets hope our guys come out and continue the great team play! Here is a fun fact:
The trend in the second round seems to be that all winning teams have blown out the competition in game one. If that is any sign of things to come, I welcome it.
By CLIFF BRUNT
Posted May 06 2014 8:28PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Chris Paul is usually about assists - he led the league in that category this season, and his popular television commercials focus on them.
He helped his team in a surprisingly different way Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. The point guard made eight 3-pointers against the Oklahoma City Thunder - three more than he had ever made in an NBA game - to help the Clippers win 122-105.
Paul, who only missed one 3-pointer and finished with 32 points, said fans should not expect a similar explosion in Game 2 on Wednesday night.
"The next game, I might have 12 points, 10 points, maybe not even that many," he said Tuesday. "I think I'm one of those people - whatever it takes to win. I don't care. I'm never going to lead the league in scoring or anything like that. It's just whatever to try to win."
Paul, who finished seventh in the MVP voting despite missing nearly one-quarter of the season with a shoulder injury, has been a capable scorer throughout his career. He averaged 19.1 points this season, and has averaged 18.6 points over his nine NBA seasons. Clippers forward Blake Griffin believes Paul could be even more of a scorer.
"A night like last night shows what he can do offensively," Griffin said. "There's dialogue sometimes for him to get more aggressive like he was last night because he can do that almost every game. We tell him to be aggressive, but his whole thing is getting other guys the ball."
Paul's shooting leaves the Thunder with an unexpected problem. The Clippers have plenty of offensive weapons - Griffin, who finished third in the MVP balloting, and Jamal Crawford, the league's Sixth Man of the Year, immediately come to mind. Add perimeter players Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick and Darren Collison, the inside game of DeAndre Jordan and Paul as a more assertive threat from the outside, and the Clippers might be more dangerous than the team that led the NBA in scoring during the regular season.
"When he's hitting 3s like that, it's tough," Thunder forward Nick Collison said of Paul. "We can definitely make it more difficult on him than we did (Monday). I think that's where our focus is going to be, is how can we defend better?"
Paul scored 17 points and made five 3-pointers in the final 6:21 of the first quarter in Game 1, matching his career high for 3-pointers in a game in the first 12 minutes. By the end of the barrage, the Clippers had turned a 16-13 deficit into a 39-25 lead.
"When a guy hits five or six 3s in a row, you don't want to give him some more, and that is when they started to get some stuff in the paint," said Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who was named MVP on Tuesday.
Overall, the Clippers made 15 of 29 3-point attempts.
"The effort was there," Durant said. "We had good intentions, but they got hot. We have got to correct it. We have to make them miss next game and be a little bit more physical."
Paul said his shots came from good ball movement and good screens.
"It wasn't like I was making unbelievable shots, it was because the court was open," he said. "When I had two defenders I gave it to Blake, and that's what put so much pressure on the defense because BG (Griffin) is such a great passer."
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said teamwork was the key to the offense's success Monday night. Los Angeles shot 55 percent and committed just nine turnovers.
"The ball didn't stick," he said. "The ball moved. Everything was quick. Quick decisions, quick drives, quick shots. There was not a lot of hesitation. If we play like that, we'll be good."
Though it was a good start, the Clippers say there's a long way to go if they are to reach the Western Conference finals for the first time.
"You don't read too much into it because it's still Game 1 of the series," Rivers said. "With us, I don't think you can get too high or too low. You've just got to keep coming out and playing. You might get those same shots tomorrow and they not go in."
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP
Notebook: Clippers 122, Thunder 105
Randy Renner, for NBA.com
Posted Tue May 06, 2014 1:27 AM - Updated Tue May 06, 2014 1:27 AM
THE FACT: Chris Paul had a career high eight 3-pointers against Oklahoma City.
THE LEAD: It took Clippers point guard Chris Paul just six minutes in the first quarter to tie his career high with five made 3-point baskets. He went on to splash eight long balls and score 32 points in leading his Clippers to a 122-105 blowout win over the Oklahoma City Thunder to take a 1-0 series lead.
The Clippers were hot from everywhere, shooting 51.7 percent on 3s and 54.9 percent overall while turning the ball over only nine times and handing out 26 assists.
Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 29 points on 9-for-14 shooting and Kevin Durant added 25 on 9-for-19. Serge Ibaka dropped in 12 on 6-for-9 shooting but no one else for the Thunder did much on offense. Caron Butler and Reggie Jackson were a combined 2-for-15 for seven points and 1-for-6 on 3s.
Blake Griffin, coming back home to Oklahoma City where he grew up and played for the University of Oklahoma, ended up with 23 points, five rebounds and five assists. Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 17 for the Clippers but it was Paul who dominated the game. He also handed out 10 assists and was flawless in his handling of the offense.
QUOTABLE: "C.P. really set the tone for us to start the game. His being aggressive at the start really helped us. Tonight he just looked great and we just had one of those nights when everything was going in."
-- Clippers head coach Doc Rivers
THE STAT: Interestingly on Paul's hot night his lowest shooting percentage came on the easiest shots. He was 66.7 percent from the free throw line but 85.7 percent on field goals and 88.9 percent on 3s.
TURNING POINT: After the Thunder had taken a 16-10 lead in the first quarter the Clippers went on a 24-6 run to give them a double-digit cushion. Playing with that lead the Clippers never let OKC get closer than 13 points the rest of the night.
QUOTABLE II: "We have to play better on defense. They were making shots, getting to the line and making 3s. Chris had an unbelievable night. We have to do a better job guarding the 3-point line."
-- Thunder head coach Scott Brooks
QUOTABLE III: "I just tried to take what was given to me and just kept trying to be aggressive. I came over here (to the arena) early before the game today to get some shots up and try to get my body right."
-- Chris Paul
HOT: The Thunder started 7-for-10 (70 percent) and the Clippers started 5-for-8 (62.5 percent). ... OKC finished the quarter at 50 percent (10-for-20) and the Thunder finished at 66.7 percent (16-24). ... The Clippers were 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) on 3s in the first half. ... Paul was 6-for-6 from deep. ... Westbrook was 6-for-8 (16 points) in the first half. ... Paul finished 12-for-14 overall and 8-for-9 on 3s. ... The Clippers shot 51.7 percent from beyond the arc.
NOT: The Thunder were 2-for-9 on 3s in the first half. ... Butler was 0-for-3 in the first half and finished 1-for-7 (three points). Jackson was 1-for-8 (four points). ... DeAndre Jordan was 1-for-8 on free throws.
INSIDE THE ARENA: The 160th consecutive sellout inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein was among those sitting courtside.
GOOD MOVE: In the first quarter Ibaka got open in the lane for a slam then Thabo Sefolosha, whom Brooks inserted back into the starting lineup, stole the outlet pass and raced back the other way hitting a wide-open Durant with a pass and KD splashed a 3.
GOOD MOVE TOO: Rivers said "this series would take on a different identity" from the first round series each team played and it certainly did for OKC. The Thunder were coming off a slow down, grind-it-out series with Memphis and ran right into a buzz saw. The Clippers dominated in the paint and out on the perimeter with speed and precision.
BAD MOVE: The Thunder, knowing full well the Clippers love to shoot the 3-ball, were continually torched by the long ball in the first half and nothing changed in the second half. Brooks started Sefolosha for his perimeter defense but even he couldn't help. Defense was sloppy and late on closeouts.
ROOKIE WATCH: Thunder center Steven Adams, who had played well offensively against the Clippers in the regular season, didn't take a shot in the 19 minutes he played while pulling down four rebounds.
NOTABLE: The 69 points scored by the Clippers in the first half are the most the Thunder have given up by halftime in a playoff game.
UP NEXT: Game 2 Wednesday @ Oklahoma City, Game 3 Friday @ Los Angeles, Game 4 Sunday @ Los Angeles.
http://www.nba.com/games/20140505/LACOK ... top:modtop