Oklahoma City Thunder: Sefolosha missed
No one can doubt Thabo Sefolosha’s value to the Thunder. Not after the Clipper massacre Monday night. Sefolosha missed the game with a foot injury, and the Clippers waltzed to a 112-100 victory that was notable for the Thunder’s total lack of defense.
The Clippers made 45 of 80 shots (56.2 percent). They made 13 of 25 3-pointers (52 percent). They made eight of 10 dunks (yep, De’Andre Jordan missed two). You let a good-shooting team take 25 mostly-open 3-pointers and 10 dunks, and you’ll get beat every time.
Chris Paul, who took only three of the 3-pointers and none of the dunks, was the chief instigator, running the Clippers with amazing efficiency. CP3 darted in and out of the lane for lobs and kick-outs to open sharpshooters Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups.
When Butler, guarded by Kevin Durant, scored 11 points in the game’s first 6:10, you figured this would be a long night without Thabo and his defense. Switching Sefolosha over to Butler and letting Durant guard Billups wouldn’t have been much better, but at least Sefolosha could have dogged the hot hand.
But as the game wore on, it became clear that Thabo’s real value would have been in trying to guard Paul. That’s tough duty for a 6-foot-5 wingman, trying to stay in front of the NBA’s premeir cat burglar, but Sefolosha offers the best hope for the Thunder. At least Wednesday night. Russell Westbrook’s defense was abysmal, In Westbrook’s, uh, defense, it’s hard for anyone in the league to guard Paul. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and Durant are easier to guard than is Paul.
But Westbrook’s defense was atrocious Wednesday. As bad as Durant’s. Westbrook seemed to be following CP3 as much as he was guarding him. Thabo gives the Thunder another option, at least a different look. Might have made a difference.
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