OKC Thunder notebook: Kevin Durant and Chris Paul at the front of testy Thunder-Clippers series

Kevin Durant and Chris Paul got testy with each other Friday night in the Thunder’s Game 3 win against the Los Angeles Clippers, and the two stars didn’t mince words during the late second quarter verbal exchange or a day later in Durant’s case.
by Berry Tramel and Darnell Mayberry Published: May 10, 2014

“Me and (Kendrick Perkins), we have been doing a better job (playing) off each other,” said Ibaka. “I always tell Perk, when he’s down (low) I’m going to stay out and you go for the rebound. When I’m down, you get back and I’ll go for the rebound. Also, Russ has been doing a great job of going to the offensive glass and coming to help us on defense, too. All we can do is stay focused on boxing out, and then Russ, Kevin (and) Thabo (Sefolosha) come get all the rebounds.”

BUTLER DID IT

When Caron Butler went to the foul line for three shots early in the second quarter, a Clipper fan roared above the din, telling Butler he was over the hill and saying the Clips were glad he was gone. Butler sank all three foul shots, then put his hand behind his ear as the fan grew silent.

Butler had that laugh and the last laugh, with three go-ahead 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. He finished with 14 points.

“Just having fun, man,” Butler said. “It feels good to be having fun, doing what you love doing. Happy to be back at it.”

Butler spent the previous two seasons with the Clippers, starting all 16 Los Angeles playoff games. He was traded to Phoenix in the offseason, cut by the Suns, signed his home-region Milwaukee Bucks and bought out of his contract in March.

And in Game 3 against the Clippers, Butler had his finest moment with the Thunder. Butler averaged just 7.5 points and shot 32.5 percent in the playoff series against Memphis. Then he struggled in the first two games against the Clippers.

“That was one of the reasons I really wanted to be here, I knew I’d have the opportunity to play,” Butler said. “You wanted to be in a situation where you fit. I felt like Oklahoma was the place for me. The first round, worked out great, had an opportunity to have my fingerprints on the success, and here we go again. It’s special and I’m really happy.”

SMALL BALL WORKS

Scott Brooks went with a small lineup the entire fourth quarter of Game 3. And the Thunder excelled, outscoring L.A. 32-22. Backups Butler and Jackson combined for 15 points, and Durant was matched against 6-foot-11 center DeAndre Jordan. In that fourth quarter, Jordan had two points, two rebounds and no blocked shots.

“I thought he did a great job of knowing DeAndre’s tendencies … and knowing where he was going to be and what he wanted to do,” Butler said. “Knowing the play calling and stuff. He was very vocal anchoring the defense in the back. Kevin, he’s remarkable.”

ROAD REG

Jackson finished with 14 points. In four road playoff games so far, he’s averaged 16.5 points. In five home playoff games, Jackson has averaged 8.2 points.

Said Kendrick Perkins, “I told Reggie, whatever he’s doing on the road, he need to do at home.”

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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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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