Los Angeles, CA- The buck stopped right here in Staples Center as the Los Angeles Clippers let Oklahoma City Thunder win the series 4-2. In a hard fought 104-98 loss, the Clippers now move on to an offseason of who knows what, but the team’s faithful hung in there till the end with their team. The crowd was amazing tonight; #WeAreOne, #OneTeamOneGoal-were their rally calls.
This was to be the Clippers comeback game after allowing Game 5 slip away. There was somewhat a redemption moment for Chris Paul, who poured in a team-high 25 points, dished out 11 assists and produced 7 rebounds. But it simply was not enough. Blake Griffin finished up with 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists after being a little gun shy for the post most of the game. The Clippers’ bench only chipped in 17 points for the game and was outscored by the Thunder bench by 18 points (35 Bench).
OKC was backed in a corner throughout this series and Russell Westbrook said, “We just did a great job sticking together.” Westbrook finished with 19 points, and 12 assists, finding the open man when he was doubled.
“My mind set was just find a way to win!” exclaimed Westbrook. The league MVP Kevin Durant who scored 25 of his team high 39 points in second half, willed his team to advance to Western Conference Finals. Durant even managed to come down with 16 rebounds.
It was pure hustle and desire.
The Clippers played one smart quarter of basketball to open game and a 14-point lead. The game was being called a little tight with fouls early on to take control of the game. This hurt OKC the most having Kendrick Perkins along with Russell Westbrook both receiving two fouls. For the Clippers, center DeAndre Jordan received a foul call earlier, which lead to Doc Rivers bringing in Glen Davis, who scored six big points in first quarter that ended with a 30-16 Clippers lead.
At the half, the Clippers were still playing smart basketball, taking an eight point lead, 50-42. The Clippers’ ball movement was good but they started to miss easy baskets that lead to the lead shrinking. Durant was the main bright spot for OKC with 14 points at the half with three consecutive 3-pointers to give a jump start. The Thunder kept crawling back once they saw the ball drop in the basket a few more times in their favor.
Now the stage is set for OKC to face the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, while the Eastern Conference Finals starts as well with the Miami Heat going up against the Indiana Pacers. This Thunder team is battled tested, having dispatched the slow down, beat-you-up game in the post from Memphis, and now getting by the uptempo, ball movement game of the Clippers.
What’s next for this Clippers team? We all want to know and will be watching this off season.