Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

May 13, 2014

Oklahoma City returns home after Game 4 collapse

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant says the Clippers are hanging all over him.

Russell Westbrook says they are flopping.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes the Thunder made a dirty play against Blake Griffin in Game 4.

Indeed, Game 5 of a Western Conference semifinal series that already has included 15 individual technical fouls ought to be interesting.

Oklahoma City appeared ready to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series on Sunday, but instead the Thunder squandered a 16-point lead in the final 10 minutes of a 101-99 loss that evened things up at 2-2. Control will be at stake on Tuesday, and the team that keeps its emotions in check could come out with the advantage.

Durant is frustrated with the way the Clippers are defending him. The Clippers had success with the 6-foot point guard Chris Paul guarding the 6-foot-9 Durant at times in the second half on Sunday. Though Durant made 7 of 10 field goals after the break, he also committed seven turnovers. Durant said Paul played him well, but he had a lot of help, some from 6-foot Darren Collison.

“Little guys get up under you, but they’re not just going to play me one-on-one,” Durant said. “Basically, they’ve got three guys watching me. They’ve got one behind me, so when I caught it, they double-teamed as soon as I caught it. And when they didn’t double team, I scored. People always have something to say about the 1-on-1 matchup, which never happens in this league, especially with me.”

Durant said there’s more than good defense going on.

“Every time I pass the ball, there’s a guy on my arm,” the league MVP said. “I’m 6-9. There’s no way two six-footers are going to get the ball. You do the math.”

When asked about the chippiness between the teams, Westbrook said the Clippers were creating some of it with their actions.

“There’s a lot of flopping going on, I can tell you that much,” Westbrook said.

The Clippers are not thrilled with some of Oklahoma City’s tactics, either. Thunder forward Serge Ibaka caught Blake Griffin with a shot to the groin in Game 4, and Rivers believes the league should respond.

“I’ve watched the tape,” he said. “I’m sure the league is looking into it. I don’t think they need me calling and doing anything. But, yeah, I’ve watched it. I think they should look into it.”

The Thunder need to stay focused and deal with those issues while moving on from the disappointment of Game 4.

“We’ve got to turn the page,” Durant said. “We gave it away. It’s unfortunate, but we come back home 2-2, and we’re looking forward to playing another game.”

If the Clippers win Tuesday, they will host Game 6 on Thursday with a chance to close out the series.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to start that game (Game 5) off 0-0,” Paul said. “We’re going into their place. I think we’ve got to bring that same energy and mindset — not the one we started off with — but just understanding that sometimes, you’ve just got to impose your will. Just play hard.”

Durant and Westbrook have been outstanding in the series, but the Thunder have lost when others haven’t produced. In Sunday’s game, Durant scored 40 points and Westbrook added 27, but no other player scored more than 10 points. It was a similar story in the Game 1 loss.

Durant said he needs to keep the ball moving so his teammates can be in better position to be involved.

“They can’t do it on their own, I’ve got to help them,” Durant said. “I’ve got to do a better job of catching the balls and passing the ball out of double teams better and being stronger with the ball. So it’s not on them.”

Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he is confident that Durant and his teammates will make the right decisions in Game 5.

“They did some double teams that we were out of position on looking back,” Brooks said. “We have to be able to react quickly off of those double teams, and we will tomorrow night.”

The Clippers’ small lineup helped them outscore the Thunder 38-24 in the fourth quarter Sunday. Rivers isn’t sure how much he’ll use that lineup going forward.

“It’s not something you can bank on, it’s not something you’re going to do full-time or anything like that,” he said. “They’ve gone small at times as well and been successful. It really is going to be a game time and game situational thing for us. Having those three guards on the floor makes it very difficult to guard us. We know that. But it also puts us in a bind defensively.”

Oklahoma City 2, L.A. Clippers 2

Monday, May 5: L.A. Clippers 122, Oklahoma City 105

Wednesday, May 7: Oklahoma City 112, L.A. Clippers 101

Friday, May 9: Oklahoma City 118, L.A. Clippers 112

Sunday, May 11: L.A. Clippers 101, Oklahoma City 99

Tuesday, May 13: L.A. Clippers at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 15: Oklahoma City at L.A. Clippers, 9:30 or 10:30 p.m.

x-Sunday, May 18: L.A. Clippers at Oklahoma City, TBA

1
Text Only
Sports
  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Really one true champion?

    I decided to spare the colleagues in front of me – and myself from making a scene – by holding back flipping my table at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.
    I had become exhausted by the constant use and misrepresentation by the Big 12 with their moniker of “One True Champion.” If they are going to live with the slogan, then they need to abide by that slogan.
    Perhaps its a simple case that they are keeping constant with the poor math of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hill expected to be used in multiple facets

    The picture became a little clearer recently of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 23, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • shock pic.jpg Time to rest

    Shock beats San Antonio before entering All-Star break

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy leads, Tiger Woods in contention after 1st day at British Open

    July 18, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Stocks