Thunder-Clippers Report Card: OKC makes more plays in thrilling Game 3

What a game. Neither team ever led by double digits, and neither team made a huge run. But the Thunder made more plays, pulled off a 118-112 victory and the grades reflect it.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 10, 2014


photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) dunks in front of Los Angeles' Matt Barnes (22), DeAndre Jordan (6) and Darren Collison (2) during Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Friday, May 9, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) dunks in front of Los Angeles' Matt Barnes (22), DeAndre Jordan (6) and Darren Collison (2) during Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Friday, May 9, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

End of quarters: C. The Clippers ended the third quarter with six points in the final 30.2 seconds, all from the foul line. Officials called a foul on Reggie Jackson, giving Chris Paul three free shots. Jackson argued and was given a technical. Jamal Crawford made the technical, then Paul made two of the three shots. Then just before the buzzer, Kevin Durant was called for a foul on Crawford’s desperation 35-footer. He made all three foul shots to give the Clippers a 90-86 lead. That wasn’t the only discouraging finish to a period. The Clippers outscored OKC 8-4 in the final 75 seconds of the first quarter, with Danny Granger and Crawford sinking 3-pointers. The second quarter finish was no better. The Clippers outscored the Thunder 8-4 in the final minute, using 3-pointers by Paul and Matt Barnes. Of course, the Thunder dominated the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, so that’s no small thing.

Celebrity watch: B. Billy Crystal was courtside, like usual at Clipper games. And so was Rhianna. Boston Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi attended, as did Ultimate Fighter Travis Browne. Barry Switzer flew out to give the Thunder high-profile support.

Defending Lob City: C. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan dominated the first quarter. Griffin had 14 points, constantly drawing fouls. Jordan had five rebounds, three of them offensive. In the second quarter, the Clippers got their lob game going, with Jordan having three dunks and Griffin one. The Thunder did a better job in the second half, though it helped that both Jordan and Griffin missed dunks in the third quarter. Kendrick Perkins and Steven Adams weren’t as effective as earlier in the series, though Ibaka played well despite the foul trouble.

Foul shooting: B. The Thunder was terrific from the line, making 21 of its first 22. Then in the final 23 seconds, Reggie Jackson missed two straight and Russell Westbrook one. The Thunder survived it fine, but in a slightly tighter game, that can be deadly.

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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