OKLAHOMA CITY —
After outplaying Westbrook in the opener, Paul conceded that Westbrook got the better of him in Game 2 with his energy and all-out aggression. He said foul trouble kept him from matching Westbrook’s intensity.
“It’s tough to guard him as it is,” Paul said. “You get two bad fouls like that early in the game. When you are in foul trouble, it makes it even tougher. Game 3, I will come out ready to play and see if I can do better.”
If Durant had any emotional hangover from getting the MVP, it didn’t show when the game started. He came out firing and poured in 17 first-quarter points on 7-of-11 shooting. Even when the Clippers started double-teaming him, he stayed aggressive and drove to the basket.
Westbrook added 10 points in the opening period as Oklahoma City opened a 37-28 advantage.
However, the Thunder had no answer for Redick. Sefolosha was inserted back into the starting lineup to contain the free-shooting guard. That didn’t last long, as Thunder coach Scott Brooks was forced to try guard Derek Fisher on Redick, then Durant.
After a brief delay due to the lights dimming, the Thunder went into halftime leading 61-56.
Oklahoma City turned to its defense coming out of halftime. Led by the inspired play of Sefolosha, the Thunder had Los Angeles back on its heels.
In one sequence, the Thunder forced three consecutive turnovers and scored each time. The stretch include two steals by Sefolosha that led to a Sefolosha breakaway dunk and a Westbrook 3-pointer.
More important, Sefolosha held Redick to just two points in the second half.
“Thabo came back and gave us a good defensive presence on Redick in that second half,” Brooks said. “I thought he had too many open looks in the first half. But he really locked in and did a much better job in that second half.”
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