After being blown out in the first game of the Conference Semi Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Oklahoma City Thunder weren’t about to drop another game at home – especially after Kevin Durant had been named MVP and received the official award right before the opening tip. The home crowd made a great deal of noise and the Thunder played hard from the opening tip.
Noticeably, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were running things on the offensive end, making plays and making sure the crowd stayed in the game and the Thunder stayed in front. Durant had 17 points in the first quarter alone, while Westbrook starred with an all around brilliant first half of his own.
This dynamic duo showed why many believe them to be the best 1-2 punch in the entire league. Scoring 63 points between them, it wasn’t just the buckets that had the crowd and the home team exited. Both players showcased their ability to play a complete game of basketball and were even able to limit some of their turnovers.
Russell Westbrook won the battle of the point guards after lowering his colors to Chris Paul in Game 1. Westbrook notched a very effective and efficient triple double – registering 31 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and threw in 3 steals just for good measure. He shot the ball 22 times, but made 13 of them.
Durant cooled off slightly after bursting out of the gates, and was one assist shy of his own playoff triple double – showing everyone watching his MVP form. Durant scored 32 points and also had 12 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 steals.
This is Westbrook’s third playoff triple double after having achieved the feat twice in the Thunder’s first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
When the Thunder’s two superstars are in form like this, they are a formidable opponent. Both players possess the ability to score the ball, almost at will, but when they also add the ability to make the right basketball play, trust in each other and their teammates, the Thunder look more impressive and even more dangerous.
One of the keys to this series will be the ability to attack the Clippers defense from a number of different angles. Along with playing solid defense, not turning the ball over and allowing the Clippers to get transition buckets – making everyone on the floor a danger to score or be involved is essential.
With almost 20 assists between them, the Thunder duo were able to keep the Clipper defenders at bay. Now they just have to keep it up for the rest of the series and it may see them advance to the Western Conference Finals for the second time in franchise history.