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Kevin Durant's supporting cast was what helped win game for Thunder

Durant was his usual phenomenal self, and Russell Westbrook was fantastic, too. But the Thunder popped the Clippers 112-101 with ease because the Thunder cornerstones had help. And lots of it.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 8, 2014


photo - Kendrick Perkins (5) shoots over Blake Griffin (32) during Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Kendrick Perkins (5) shoots over Blake Griffin (32) during Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Meanwhile, Perkins had eight points and nine rebounds. The Clippers’ Jordan, who can jump from his knees higher than Perk can just off his feet, had seven points and eight rebounds. Such a performance pained Gran Torino’s old Celtics coach.

“I can’t believe what he was doing offensively,” Rivers said. “They just had a lot of energy. Energy finds the ball. Tonight, that’s exactly what happened. Russell Westbrook, offensive rebounds (six). Perk did it over and over again. Sefolosha did it over and over again. That’s why they won the game.”

Good thing, too, that Durant and Westbrook had plenty of help, since the Thunder bench was lacking again. And quite fitting that Thabo, Perk and Ibaka, their long-time cohorts in the starting lineup, excelled only two games after Thabo was benched for the final two games of the Memphis series.

But Durant said he figures it had little to do with his speech Tuesday that resonated with people all over America.

“I think it was more fuel because we lost” Game 1, Durant said. “We lost by 20 points. We were pissed off.”

And now the series goes to Los Angeles tied 1-1. A five-game series, now, with the Clippers holding homecourt advantage. But homecourt hasn’t meant much in any of these NBA playoffs. What has mattered is superstars showing up, which rarely is a Thunder problem. Superstars showing up and getting help from guys who might be overlooked but feel appreciated. Now more than ever.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at . He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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