LOS ANGELES — The feeling out process is over. After Oklahoma City and Los Angeles split the first two games of their Western Conference semifinal, the teams can get to work.
For the Thunder, that means putting behind the excitement of Kevin Durant winning the MVP and focusing solely on stopping an angry Clippers squad in Game 3, which starts at 9:30 p.m. tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles..
“As the series goes along you have to forget about the last game and bring the same energy and focus and determination to the next game,” Oklahoma City Scott Brooks said. “We have to do the same thing in Los Angeles. We know how they’re feeling. After you lose, you want to come back and redeem (yourself) and play much better. We have to come out with the same mindset, same approach and same determination that we had last game.”
The headlines coming out of Game 2 focused on Durant and Russell Westbrook, and rightfully so. Westbrook posting his third triple-double and Durant coming one assist away from his own trifecta was key to the 112-101 victory.
“We set the bar high for ourselves,” Durant said. “We have a high standard that we try to reach. We work extremely hard. One thing about Russ, he demands so much out of everybody and brings the level of the team up with his intensity and his effort.”
However, it was the Oklahoma City big men who caused just as much havoc for the Clippers. Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka and rookie Steven Adams came close to shutting down the L.A. front court. They held Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to a combined 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting.
Ibaka’s work on Griffin was particularly impressive. Even as Griffin tried to play bully ball and work his way into the paint, Ibaka didn’t allow him any uncontested shots or high flying dunks.