The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 13, 2014

Defense still key for Thunder

Durant doesn't think he'll see Paul guard him alone

LOS ANGELES — Some things in sports are just not supposed to happen. Things that should be physically impossible to even consider. Examples include a person running the 100 meters in 7 seconds, hitting 18 hole in ones on a PGA golf course or professional soccer becoming popular in the United States.

Until Sunday, the possibility of a 6-foot point guard locking down a near 7-foot MVP and scoring champ would have made that list. But that is what appeared to happen when

Los Angeles’ Chris Paul took on the challenge of guarding Kevin Durant in the 4th quarter of Game 4 in the best of seven series.

While Durant scored 10 of his game-high 40 points in the period, he also committed several turnovers and was unable to come up with his normal clutch shots when they needed him the most.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers refuses to give Paul or himself for the coaching strategy saying Durant just missed shots. But he admits his veteran guard did have an effect.

“That’s called desperate coaching,” Rivers said. “You’re looking for any combination. (Saturday) as a staff we said Durant was beating us with his dribble. If you put a guard on him, you could make him more of a post-up player.”

This is twice this series that Paul has taken a challenge personally and the Clippers came out on top. In Game 1 it was him against a younger, more explosive Russell Westbrook. In Game 4, it was finding a way to stop the best offensive player in the game.

But both Paul and Rivers know it’s not a strategy the Clippers can go with for a full 48 minutes.

“I mean, it’s tough,” Paul said. “He was the MVP for a reason, you know what I mean. Early in this game when things weren’t going right, I went onto Doc and said, Might be 48 minutes tonight. KD is a great scorer. I don’t know. It’s tough at times ‘cause you try and defend him as well as trying to be aggressive offensively. Same thing I went through last series. At the end of the day you just got to do whatever it takes to win.”

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