Most Valuable Performance: Balanced Thunder Sinks Clippers In Game 2

Thursday, May 8th 2014, 12:24 am
By: News 9

In an emotional ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, Kevin Durant looked at every single one of his teammates and thanked them for helping him become the NBA's MVP.  

On Wednesday night, each one of those teammates helped contribute to a 112-101 Thunder win.

The night began with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver presenting Durant with the MVP trophy.  As KD hoisted the hardware to the tune of 18,203 fans chanting "M-V-P," a unique energy filled the arena.  It had the feel of a special night.  

"I was so focused on the game but I didn't want to take that moment for granted," Durant said afterward. "We're never promised anything so I just wanted to enjoy it, but also focus on the game. But the fans were tremendous in supporting me and cheering for me.  It was just a surreal moment. It was just one of those things that you don't get to go through every single day."

The newly-crowned MVP played like it in the opening quarter.  Durant scored 17 points on 7-11 shooting as the Clippers looked powerless to stop him.  

Russell Westbrook also got hot early and scored 10 first-quarter points on 5-6 shooting as the Thunder seized a 37-28 lead heading into the second.  

The second quarter was a much different story.  

Los Angeles turned up the heat on defense and OKC saw its lead evaporate quickly.  But four Durant free throws and a Serge Ibaka layup gave the Thunder a 61-56 halftime lead. 

The final two possessions of the half were played in dim light after a power surge knocked out the lights.  The two coaches agreed to play out the final stretch instead of waiting for the lights to be restored.  

The outcome was still very much in doubt when the two teams emerged from the halftime locker room, but that was about to change.  

Oklahoma City exploded on a 25-9 run behind Thabo Sefolosha's offensive outburst.  After not scoring on three shot attempts in the first half, Oklahoma City's oft-criticized shooting guard scored 12 points on 5-5 shooting in the quarter as the Thunder played its best basketball of the postseason and took a 94-77 lead into the fourth.  

OKC cruised from there as the Clippers never got within single digits.  

"I thought they did exactly what Scotty Brooks said they were gonna do, so give them credit," Doc Rivers said of the Thunder.  "He said they were gonna make us feel them, and I thought they did that. I thought they were by far the more physical team today." 

Durant finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.  Westbrook notched another triple double with 31 points, 10 boards and ten helpers.  

Sefolosha and Ibaka each finished with 14 points while Kendrick Perkins chipped in eight points and nine rebounds.  

"I thought those guys just did a great job of playing with confidence, taking the shots when they were open," Westbrook said of Sefolosha and Perkins.  "They did a great job of spacing out and myself and Kevin's job is to find a way to get ‘em open."

The Thunder also got six points, five rebounds and a lot of grunt work from Steven Adams.  Adams mixed it up with Blake Griffin on multiple occasions and crushed Chris Paul on a defensive closeout, drawing a (probably unwarranted) technical foul in the process.  Adams' physical play was inside the Clippers' heads.  

"He's a physical player," Rivers said of Adams.  "Red Auerbach used to always tell me that you gotta get agitators, and he's one of those for sure. Red truly believed that. He said you've gotta have two or three on a team, and they have him and Perk. And so they have two for sure."

Los Angeles was led by J.J. Redick's 18 points. Redick shot an impressive 7-10 from the floor but did not record a rebound or assist.  Paul finished with 17 points and 11 assists while Griffin chipped in 15 and six boards.  

The best-of-7 series is now tied 1-1 with Game 3 set for Friday in Los Angeles.