Quite a victory for the Thunder, a 104-98 elimination of the Clippers on Thursday night. But it didn’t come easily, and the grades reflect it.
A Kevin Durant
So that’s what valuable looks like. Serge Ibaka injured and out for most of the second half. Russell Westbrook struggling. And Durant himself off to a rough start. But Durant caught fire and played like a demon: 39 points, 16 rebounds, five assists.
The Clippers made seven of their first 12 shots, three of their first four 3-pointers and spurted to 30 first-quarter points. But LA scored just 68 points the rest of the way. The Clippers finished shooting just 42.1 percent from the field, including six of 21 on 3-pointers.
C Defensive rebounding
After keeping the Clippers off the boards through most of the first five games, the Thunder wilted in Game 6. The Clippers had 18 offensive rebounds, which they turned into 17 second-chance points. But OKC stiffened late; the Clippers had just two offensive boards in the fourth quarter, and one came in the meaningless last five seconds.
C Westbrook emotions
Strange game for Russell. He made just four of 15 shots, and the Clips kept him out of the lane for much of the game. The first quarter got away from the Thunder during three straight poor possessions, all courtesy of Westbrook. Westbrook committed a frustration foul, his second, and had to sit out 8:51 of the first half. But Westbrook returned to dish seven third-quarter assists; he finished with 12. To go with 19 points.