Friday, May 16, 2014

The Thunder Wake Up And Close


Sad, Sad Wagon
For the first 2.5 quarters of tonight's Thunder-Clippers Game Six in LA, the road team looked like they didn't want to be there. They had a brief run of Kevin Durant three pointers to make a mini run in the second quarter, but with Russell Westbrook playing some of the most brainless ball of his life -- which is to say, some of the most brainless ball that has ever been seen -- and Serge Ibaka heading to the locker room in the third quarter with an injury that made him miss the rest of the game, this one looked like Advance to Game Seven without undue drama.

But then Things Changed. Dramatically. OKC went on a run, with good bench moments from Reggie Jackson and the eternal bringer of good things in small minutes, Nick Collison. And just that quickly, OKC had eaten the lead, then took one of their own, and Clipper Fan started getting all those flashbacks as to why they have not made, for the most part, a great choice in which franchise they are going to support. So much for the home team having a 16-point lead, or this going the way it was, well, going.

Even with things looking Thunder-ish, the door kept opening, because neither of these teams is good enough in the half court, despite incredible offensive players, to avoid cold snaps. For OKC, they are always a boneheaded Westbrook decision away from all momentum draining out of them. For the Clips, they are incredibly prone to just stare at Blake Griffin, or watch Chris Paul or Jamal Crawford play hero ball, rather than, you know, pass, set screens, and work as a team.

One of the sub-plots of this series has been how the key calls have all gone to the Thunder. In Game Five, the Thunder comeback was aided and abetted by ref work, and in tonight's game, back to back charge calls on Paul (terrible) and Griffin (50-50) led to Clipper Fan showering the court with debris with over three minutes left. And when Griffin left with his sixth foul with under three minutes left, and the Thunder carrying a double-digit lead, it looked well and truly over...

But man alive, the Thunder stink at closing. Hell, if they were good at that, this series might have ended in five.

Where we eventually got to was Westbrook getting a trip bail out from the refs, the Clips not getting the made threes they needed to get back to True Terror Range, and Clipper Fan leaving early. OKC advances to meet the Spurs, three of four Conference Finals teams are repeats from last year, and we all get to forget Donald Sterling exists for months on end. (See, Clips Fan, there is a bright side.)

And with that, the second round is mercifully over, and we might get back to ball that's not only important to see, but interesting to watch.

3 comments:

snd_dsgnr said...

Man, watching Westbrook play is frustrating. I think you could make a decent case that when he's really on he's the second best player in the league, that his highs are higher than Durant's highs. Then he turns in a game like last night and you just scratch your head.

I'd have a hard time naming anyone in any sport that was more mercurial.

DMtShooter said...

I want his life off the court to be the same way. "What did you do today, Russ?" "Oh, completed an oil painting and messed around with some of that new artificial DNA. Then I peed myself and fell in a well. Same old, same old."

snd_dsgnr said...

LOL

Oh I took the profits from that investment in Amazon I made and used it to buy a time share in Baltimore.

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