The 2014 NBA Playoffs continued Sunday and there were tales of two games in two separate games. The Oklahoma City Thunder squandered a 22 point lead in Los Angeles and fell to the Clippers 101-99. Meanwhile in the nation’s capital, the Washington Wizards couldn’t close out the Indiana Pacers after building a 19 point lead of their own.
These were critical defeats for the Thunder and Wizards. Any loss in the playoffs is big, but it is magnified when a big lead evaporates. The Thunder could have taken a 3-1 series lead and really put the heat on the Clippers. Washington could have evened things up at 2-2.
Kevin Durant, the reigning MVP, had 40 points, shot 50% from the field, made 15-18 free throws but it wasn’t enough. He did have an off night from behind the arc (1-7). “Desperate coaching” by Doc Rivers saw Chris Paul guarding Durant in crucial points of the game. Durant wasn’t able to take advantage of the height edge he had. He lacked the strength to move Paul around on the block. CP3 bothered his dribble, the Clippers double team forced him into bad turnovers. Serge Ibaka only chipping in eight points didn’t help matters either.
John Wall and Nene were off their game as the only combined for 22 points.Roy Hibbert and Paul George did a lot of damage to the tune of 56 points and 21 rebounds between them. The Pacers and Wizards are no doubt reeling but they have to shake it off quickly in order to respond positively in this series.