Let’s just start with this: You know how many points the Clippers had in the fourth quarter? Ten. Ten points.
The Thunder cranked up the defense and the effort late to lock away a nice road win against the Clippers, 83-79 in a game that wasn’t pretty. And the Thunder’s won ugly a couple times this year. Which I think is huge because when you can win games like this – come from behind, make key plays down the stretch and finish – it goes a long way in the final standings. You can say it all the time but this is a game OKC loses last year. But this time, they finish the deal.
One thing that has to be gotten out of the way: Oklahoma City trailed by seven late in the third when Russell Westbrook got stepped on and had to leave the game. The Thunder promptly went on an 18-6 run to take the lead about halfway through the third. I don’t think it was so much Kevin Ollie (though he did have 11 points and five rebounds) as it was James Harden (seven points, eight assists, five rebounds). Harden took over the role as playmaker and set up a bunch of good looks and scored a little himself. Games like this show exactly why he’s the fit for this team. Fear the Beard.
But let’s be honest, Westbrook was out of control. He was 1-11 from the floor and had just three assists in 22 minutes. Ollie really steadied the offense. It seemed like Westbrook started pressing when things weren’t going right and he desperately wanted to make a play and he couldn’t get it going. I feel like he’s taking two steps forward, one and a three-fourths back every other night. He’ll get there but there will have to be nights like this. Keep Reading…