Thunder-Clippers: In a battle of the bigs, Oklahoma City's beat Blake Griffin in Game 2

OKC 112, L.A. CLIPPERS 101 — With Serge Ibaka drawing the primary defensive assignment, Oklahoma City harrassed Blake Griffin into his second straight subpar game.
by Anthony Slater Published: May 8, 2014


photo - Blake Griffin (32) backs down against Serge Ibaka (9) 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
Blake Griffin (32) backs down against Serge Ibaka (9) 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

The Clippers’ series-opening blowout win masked what was a pretty average game from Blake Griffin.

But a lopsided Game 2 result the other way – 112-101 Thunder on Wednesday night in OKC – thrusts Griffin’s sudden struggles to the forefront.

This season, the OKC native elevated his game to new heights, turning from athletic All-Star to polished superstar. He finished third in the MVP voting and entered the playoffs as maybe the biggest reason many consider the Clippers a title contender.

He’s an elite talent with great responsibility. But on Wednesday night, his second straight rough shooting night – this one a lot worse than the first – played a big role in the Clippers loss.

Griffin went 7-of-16 in Game 1. He went 5-of-13 and finished with only 15 points and six rebounds in Game 2.

He averaged 24.1 points and 9.5 rebounds this season.

“Blake missed some great shots early on,” Doc Rivers said. “I think he was 1-for-8 at halftime (actually 2-of-8). I would like six of those back…He missed point-blank looks at the rim, open shots. He’s going to get those shots and he’ll make almost 9 out of 10 most nights. You live with those.”

But the Thunder’s bruising big men deserve some of the credit, as well.

Serge Ibaka got primary responsibility and played him well. By the time the game was out of hand, Griffin was 3-of-11 shooting when guarded by Ibaka.

And when Ibaka needed a quick breather, Steven Adams was there to tap in. The high-energy, frantic and physical rookie came in and threw his body around. He knocked into Griffin on rebounds, tussled with him for loose balls and agitated him on what seemed like every other possession.


by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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