Preview: Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Game 4

Preview: Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Game 4
Clippers power forward Blake Griffin blocks a shot by Thunder forward Kevin Durant. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Clippers will host Game 4 of their second-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

The Thunder took a 2-1 advantage on Friday, winning their second game in a row after losing the opener in Oklahoma City.


Now the Clippers are facing a must-win situation, hoping to tie up the series before they head back out on the road for Game 5.

Key matchup

Both Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin should finish Game 4 as the top scorers for their respective teams, regardless of outcome.

The Clippers had a chance to win Game 3 late, but Russell Westbrook hit a big three-point shot with 2:09 left on the clock to put the Thunder up 111-107.

Chris Paul missed a pair of jumpers on the Clippers next two possessions and suddenly the Thunder had a cushion, after a Durant turnaround jumper.

Durant finished with 36, all but canceled out by Griffin's 34.

Westbrook scored 23 with 13 assists while Paul contributed 21 and 16.  The game really came down to the one Westbrook make and the two Paul misses.

Down the stretch, the Clippers need Paul to carry them across the finish line.


It's difficult enough for the Clippers to win with Durant and Westbrook putting up huge numbers.  The team simply can't afford to let Serge Ibaka hit 9-10 from the field (20 points).

Caron Butler and Reggie Jackson also contributed 14 points.

If the Thunder are a "two-man team' offensively, than the Clippers need to make sure that it's only Durant and Westbrook who are doing any real damage on the scoreboard.

As important as Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick are for the Clippers offensively, the team needs DeAndre Jordan to do an even better job protecting the basket -- difficult given how challenging it is for the Clippers' guards to stay in front of players like Westbrook, Durant and Jackson.



The Clippers should be able to get the home split in Game 4.  If not, then they're clearly out-classed by a better Thunder roster.

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