It’s been an up and down roller coaster so far in these playoffs from the Thunder, as one night they look like a title contender, and then the next they look like they don’t belong.
The domination by the Clippers in Game 1, the MVP speech, the crazy Game 4 comeback in LA, the Game 5 ridiculous comeback in OKC, and Kevin Durant’s performance in Game 6 last night to close out the series.
It’s been a wild past two weeks.
Here are five conclusions from the Thunder-Clippers series:
- One of the greatest attributes about the Miami Heat is their ability to find ways to win games. It’s a characteristic that all championship level teams have. Although the Thunder went down a lot in that series, they showed that they can stick together and find a way to pull through and win. Being down seven with 49 seconds left in Game 5 and winning was the best example of that. The chemistry and veteran leadership of guys like Fisher and Butler, are a main reason for that.
- Kevin Durant is only human. Durant is easiy the best scorer in the league, but his 6-22 performance in Game 5 shows that the guy is going to have off nights. However, you have to credit Matt Barnes—and at times Chris Paul—for doing a great job staying physical on KD and making it difficult for him to score.
- The late game fourth quarter execution is bad. It blows my mind how the Thunder have difficult scoring late in games with two of the top 10 scorers in the league. It’s extremely frustrating to watch. Scott Brooks has got to do a better job creating more structure on the offensive end. No matter how talented Durant and Westbrook are, isolation basketball doesn’t win championships.
After closing the series out last night, the Thunder will now head to their third Western Conference Finals in four years. They have been tested by two really tough and gritty teams in Memphis and Los Angeles, but their biggest test starts Monday night against the Spurs.