The metaphor came late in an already wacky first half as players milled about during a timeout.
The lights didn't go out on the
Instead of coming home with a two-games-to-none lead in the Western Conference semifinals, the Clippers will return with a series split and enough doubt to have filled every overhead bin on their charter flight.
Can they solve the
Can they shrug off the specter of Shelly Sterling, the controversial co-owner who has asserted she will fight to keep the team?
Can they find their way after acting as if they were playing in the dark for much of the second half?
The arena dimmed with 27 seconds left in the first half because of a power surge, but the lights officially went out on the Clippers with 4:15 left in the game when Coach
There actually wasn't much to say after a soggy performance all the way around.
On a stormy Oklahoma night that featured driving rain and swirling winds, the Clippers couldn't find shelter from a barrage of Durant jumpers and Westbrook driving layups.
Durant started the evening by hoisting his most-valuable-player trophy over his head with two hands, the crowd cheering wildly. The decibel level only rose as Durant (32 points) and Westbrook (31) staged their own 30 for 30 production, with Westbrook logging a triple-double and Durant falling one assist short.
"That's only 63 points," Rivers said. "You can still win the game. We've beaten them before when they've both had great games. I didn't like how they scored; it was too easy. I just thought we had way too many mental defensive breakdowns."
They also had more than a few lapses on offense.
After losing the ball to Oklahoma City's
Predictably, Paul couldn't replicate his scorching Game 1 accuracy, making six of 13 shots. More troubling was the play of Griffin, who went from a happy homecoming to a sad send-off with 15 points on five-for-13 shooting.
"He missed point-blank looks at the rim, open shots," Rivers said. "He'll get those shots and make them nine times out of 10 on most nights, so you live with those."
Paul might have become the first player in
Paul appeared to be further victimized with 6:41 left in the first quarter when he was called for being in the vicinity of
Rivers had to rush