Sports

This is why he's the MVP

Thunder's Durant lights up Los Angeles, but maybe he's doing too much

WESTERN CONFERENCE
SEMI-FINAL GAME THREE

OKLAHOMA CITY 118

LA CLIPPERS 112

● Oklahoma City lead series 2-1

They worked hard to snatch the home-court advantage away, but the Los Angeles Clippers gave it right back to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Or maybe the Thunder just took it back from the Clippers by pulling out a 118-112 victory in Game 3 yesterday morning (Singapore time) at Staples Center.

After winning Game 1 of the best-of-seven playoff series in Oklahoma City on Monday night, the Clippers have lost the last two games and now trail 2-1 in the NBA's Western Conference semi-finals.

Kevin Durant scored 36 points as Oklahoma City rallied, combining with Russell Westbrook for 59 points.

"We competed all game. We started out hot," Durant said. "We just weathered the storm. Every run they made we kept fighting and we were able to make the last run."

Durant was fantastic, yet again.

The newly-minted MVP continues to look like an unstoppable force on offence and he contributed in so many other areas as well, including pulling down eight rebounds and chalking up six assists.

But the Thunder have to be concerned about the excessive workload that coach Scott Brooks is forcing Durant to endure.

Heading into the game, he was averaging 44.7 minutes per contest in the playoffs, which led the entire postseason field by nearly a minute.

It is clear Brooks will have to find a way to cut Durant's minutes to keep the superstar fit for a championship run, and it will help if the Thunder win Game 4 tomorrow morning (Singapore time) at Staples Center to be in a position to finish the series quickly back in Oklahoma.

COMEBACK

After a poor first game, Brooks' men have shown poise to make a comeback.

The Thunder shot 55.7 per cent from the field in Game 3, including 11-of-18 in the fourth quarter.

Serge Ibaka scored 20 points and Caron Butler scored nine of his 14 points in the final quarter. He went three-for-five from three-point range in the fourth.

"We been together for awhile so our experience definitely helps," said Durant. "We just try to take it one possession at a time and we will live with the results."

Blake Griffin finished with 34 points and eight rebounds while Chris Paul added 21 points and 16 assists for the Clippers, whose downfall was a poor defence.

Los Angeles have also only made 16-of-53 three-point attempts in their last two games after going 15-of-29 from beyond the arc in Game 1.

Jamal Crawford - named the NBA's best sixth man - tallied 20 points for the Clippers, while centre DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

This marked the first time this season that the Clippers lost a game (35-1) at home when leading heading into the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles have been playing these playoffs in the shadow of the controversy over racially charged comments by Clippers owner Donald Sterling, which resulted in 80-year-old real estate tycoon being banned for life from all NBA activities.- AFP.


When it’s time to score, we get the ball to Kevin and he does what he does.

— Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star guard Russell Westbrook, hailing teammate Kevin Durant

OTHER RESULT

EASTERN CONFERENCE
SEMI-FINAL GAME THREE

  • Indiana Pacers 85 Washington Wizards 63
(Indiana lead series 2-1)