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Chris Paul reminds Thunder he can score, too, leads Clippers to dominant Game 1 win

May 6, 2014, 1:35 AM EDT

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One Getty Images

Russell Westbrook is one of the top point guards in the league, an athletic force that puts incredible pressure on opposing defenses because of his aggressive style of play. But in the frequent discussion of his flaws by critics one thing gets overlooked — he’s just not a very good defender. He makes some steals, but his aggressive style also leads to him getting burned at times.

Like Monday night.

In the series opener Monday night Chris Paul did everything but steal Westbrook’s lunch money. Paul rained three pointers, put up 17 first quarter points (32 for the game), got his teammates involved with 10 assists, and led what became a Clippers blowout of the Thunder in Game 1, 122-105 (and it wasn’t that close).

The Clippers now have a 1-0 series lead, with Game 2 Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder had just come out of a physical series against the Grizzlies and going up against the Clippers they just seemed to relax on that front — they didn’t want to bang, didn’t want to be physical and that let the Clippers shooters just get too comfortable.

That’s the attitude adjustment, the Thunder also have to adjust their pick-and-roll defensive strategy.

The Clippers brought two bigs (Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan) out high to give Paul options, then whatever he chose the Thunder switched it and put a big on Paul. Those bigs played back a little and that gave Paul room to shoot — and he did, scoring those 32 points on 12-of-14 shooting, hitting 8-of-9 from three. Five of those threes came over big men switched out on him.

Early on it this looked like the entertaining series we all hoped for — neither team could stop the other, both pushing the pace and knocking down shots. The Thunder got out to a six-point lead.

Then Chris Paul started to take over, scoring at will and knocking down threes. Actually, all the Clippers were knocking down threes, they started 9-of-15 from beyond the arc.

The Clippers starting five played 22 minutes on the night, shot 65.9% and were +21. They owned the Thunder starters.

Then the Clipper bench came in and extends lead, match ups favor them. Jamal Crawford had 17 on the night.

Clippers led by 14 after one quarter, got that up to 22 at points in the second quarter and then the entire second half was the Clippers show. At one point the Thunder made a little run to cut the lead down to 15, the Clippers responded with an 11-0 run. They led by 20 or more most of the second half.

After the game in televised interviews Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook sounded calm, like guys who had been here before, who had been down in a series pretty darn recently and found a way to win it.

  1. ranfan12 - May 6, 2014 at 1:37 AM

    and people call cp3 overrated. get that bs outta here.

  2. norcal031 - May 6, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    Shaq has got to go from inside the NBA. He is just awful. Chuck agreed with him and he starts trying to make a joke of what he said. Chuck even called him out for it. It is like he does not even know basketball. Just jokes. You hear Kenny and Chuck make comments during a highlight and all Shaq says is “bapap” or Oh! Or tries to clown. Please TNT get rid of him soon.

    • fm31970 - May 6, 2014 at 1:58 AM

      Agreed. Shaq is useless on that set. Just don’t bring back Magic Johnson, please.

    • ranfan12 - May 6, 2014 at 2:16 AM

      gotta admit i laughed trying to picture him doing that lol

    • romestar82 - May 6, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      Shaq is the best thing to ever happen to TNT ,I just hope PBT get’s rid of you! Please PBT get rid of Norcal031 he is utterly useless here

      • au1978 - May 6, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        Calm it down, Shaq lover.

        I actually skip the halftime reports just because I can’t stand listening to him.

  3. antistratfordian - May 6, 2014 at 2:53 AM

    KD is typically ranked #2 and Paul at #3 in player rankings. But I wonder if we have that wrong, because Chris Paul – an offensive wizard who accounts for 43.6 points per game – is also a 5x All-Defensive player. Durant averages about the same amount of points per game, but has never made an All-Defensive team.

    Something to think about.

    • aboogy123456 - May 6, 2014 at 8:42 AM

      I think I would take Paul over Durant, but that’s a hard choice. Too many people want to see a rivalry with Lebron but he’s a good notch ahead of everyone else. It’s a much more interesting discussion of Paul vs Durant for #2.

  4. phillyphil005 - May 6, 2014 at 5:49 AM

    No

  5. davecotuit - May 6, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    amazing performance from a team that was completely shell shocked just a few days ago. I think some of the credit has to go to doc rivers who has been a pillar of strength during last week s nightmare.

    GO CLIPS!

  6. rodyaugu - May 6, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    CP3 played like a free man.

  7. jacobk621 - May 6, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    Shaquille O’neal is just plain turrible !!! Also Abc/espn needs to can Bill Simmons ,, he’s turrible also !!!

  8. ufools - May 6, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    They said Okc would sweep. They said that it is a bad matchup for the Clips. Clips couldn’t win in OKC they said.

    There you go all you naysayers.

  9. jerdogthompson - May 6, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    The more this team wins the less piker fools come out of the wood work……….

    #InDocwetrust

  10. brookwell2013 - May 6, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    This thing is going seven folks………

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