Kevin Durant lifted his first MVP trophy before the game.
His play in the Thunder’s 112-101 victory was nothing short of worthy of his MVP award.
Durant scored 32 points on 10-22 shooting, grabbed 12 rebounds and had 9 assists, falling one shy of a playoff triple-double, an incredible output from a player who had a rough first round series.
The MVP scored 17 of his 32 points in the opening 12 minutes, converting 7 of his 11 shots on a wide array of looks from all over the court, showing those watching how he earned his award.
Russell Westbrook, the second star on a night like this, turned in his third triple-double in his last five playoff games. Westbrook scored 31 points to go with 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Thunder traded the lead with Los Angeles in the first half before pulling away late in the third quarter.
The Clippers struggled with their shot after a hot first quarter, shooting 44.6 percent from the field and hitting just 9 of their 27 three-point attempts.
Key to their offensive struggle was the foul trouble that forced Chris Paul to the bench early in the game as he picked up two quick fouls. Blake Griffin also had early foul trouble, limiting his game and preventing him from bedding in offensively.
Paul would score just 17 points after his masterclass in Game 1, shooting 6-13 from the floor. Blake Griffin was almost identical, scoring 15 points on 5-13 shooting. Both finished with five fouls.
Another issue for the Clippers to address ahead of their return home will be their to-date awful rebounding in the playoffs. Golden State at times dominated them on the glass despite being without Andrew Bogut.
Now the Thunder are exerting the same dominance, outrebounding the Clippers 52-36 in Game 2 after outrebounding them in Game 1 despite losing the game in a blowout.
Thabo Sefolosha rewarded Scott Brooks for reinserting him in the starting lineup once again, scoring 14 points and coming up with critical defensive plays.
One such run of plays effectively sealed the game, with Sefolosha scoring on a mid-range shot before earning a steal and converting a breakaway dunk. He came up with another steal on the inbounds pass, dishing to Russell Westbrook to hit a three, sending the Thunder ahead 90-73.
Jamal Crawford struggled for Los Angeles, making just two of his 13 field goal attempts as his poor shooting caused the Clippers’ offense to stagnate heavily, especially with Paul struggling with his own game.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant: 32 points, 10-22 FGS, 12 rebounds, 9 assists
Russell Westbrook: 31 points, 13-22 FGS, 10 rebounds, 10 assists
Serge Ibaka: 14 points, 6-10 FGS, 7 rebounds
Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Paul: 17 points, 6-13 FGS, 11 assists
Blake Griffin: 15 points, 5-13 FGS, 6 rebounds
J.J. Redick: 18 points, 7-10 FGS
Game 3 @LAC: Friday, May 9th. Tip: 10:30pm ET