Nick Collison for SI.com on being KD’s teammate: “Just having him on the court makes us all better. Every defense changes dramatically when he’s in there. He has the man guarding him, someone helping off some sort of screening action and three other guys basically staring at him, waiting to make a move. It gets all of us layups and open shots. It allows us to be good. Look at my career. I’m viewed as a guy who does the little things that help a team win. I have a niche, even a little bit of a cult following. But if I were on a losing team, no one would talk about that. And the reason for that is Kevin, and Russell Westbrook. Their success raises all of us.”
Berry Tramel: “As is, it’s the first time in NBA history – more than 56,000 games – that teammates have both crossed the threshold of 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. This isn’t Batman and Robin. This is Batman and Batman. Westbrook is no Festus Haggan or Barney Fife. Westbrook is no deputy. He’s Wyatt Earp himself, walking the streets of Dodge with Marshal Dillon. And the people who need to know – the Thunder brass, Durant, Westbrook himself – do know.”
Sidebar off that: I’ve always been partial to my comparison that KD is Luke Skywalker, a flawless super Jedi with outrageous skill and talent, while Westbrook is Han Solo, a swashbuckling space pirate that isn’t conventional, but very effective. Luke is the hero in the Star Wars saga, but Han is just as important, and quietly, probably a little cooler.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com on open looks for LA: “But there were also more open shots and the Clippers let OKC off the hook a little, not getting many more weak-side looks off the pick-and-roll. A lot of their 3-point attempts came off the dribble, off of post-ups, or on the strong side. Some came too early in the shot clock, before the Clips could really make the Thunder defense collapse. As with any defense, the more you make it work, the more likely you’re going to get an open shot. Against the Thunder, those open shots are more likely to come on the perimeter. Paul isn’t going to shoot 8-for-9 from 3-point range (like he did in Game 1) again. But the Clippers will continue to have opportunities to beat the Thunder’s defense from the outside.”
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com on Game 3: “The point guards are emerging as the bellwether for this series, as the team with the better point-guard performance has won each of game. How will Doc Rivers approach defending Russell Westbrook? Is it time to provide a longer defender on him, and if so, who? Meanwhile, the Thunder have resisted trapping Chris Paul at halfcourt, the most reliable defense for him historically. If Paul starts to get loose like he did in Game 1, will they start to use that strategy? How many defenders each team sends at the opposing point guard and how they react to it will determine much of the rest of this series.”