Pacers rout Wizards to take lead in their series…
The Oklahoma City Thunder took a 2-1 series lead after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center on Friday night in Game 3.
With both teams competing through the first three quarters to make it a close game, the Thunder took control in the fourth with Kevin Durant ending with 36 points, Russell Westbrook had 23 points and 13 assists while Serge Ibaka added 20 points.
Neither team ever led by double digits, but the Clippers will be disappointed with the effort in the closing stages after surrendering a four-point lead to give up their home-court advantage after blowing out their rivals in Game 1.
Durant insisted that his team don’t want to be picked apart like that again and have in turn increased their intensity and aggressiveness on both ends of the court, and they will look to take another important step to reaching the Conference finals in the next meeting on Sunday.
Blake Griffin had 34 points, Chris Paul added 21 points and 16 assists while Sixth Man of the Year, Jamal Crawford, added 20 points. However, it wasn’t enough as coach Doc Rivers was disappointed with the way OKC were able to “get what they wanted”.
Rivers lamented their big plays down the stretch and his team’s inability to match them as he conceded that through a lack of effectiveness on the defensive end, the pressure was really on the offense to keep up the pace.
One of the biggest criticisms of the Thunder is their over-reliance on Durant, and Westbrook made no secret that “when it’s time to score, we get the ball to Kevin and he does what he does”.
Over in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers completely shut down the Washington Wizards in Game 3 to move 2-1 ahead in their series.
The Wizards were held to a franchise-low scoring total on Friday, but both David West and Paul George made no apologies for their brand of basketball and insisted they don’t care much for looking good on TV, they just want to win.
Washington made just 24 field goals, a team post-season worst, on 73 attempts at 32.9 percent. Game 4 in on Sunday night and they will want to produce something much more efficient in order to get their crowd involved and put pressure on the Pacers to deliver on the offensive end.
Indiana Pacers 85-63 Washington Wizards
Oklahoma City Thunder 118-112 Los Angeles Clippers