The NBA playoffs are a far different animal than the regular season. While Kevin Durant was named the MVP of the regular season on May 6, the NBA playoffs are where Durant's true legacy is on the line. The Oklahoma City Thunder's whole postseason may have been on the line on May 7, yet the most valuable player and his most important ally did much better against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2 than they did in Game 1.
The Thunder took a 112-101 win over the Clippers which wasn't that close, as they had control almost from the start. After Durant received his MVP trophy before tip off and then started Game 2 with 17 first-quarter points, the Clippers played from behind ever since. They did get close in the second quarter, trailing by 61-56 at halftime - right as some lights went out in Chesapeake Energy Arena.
When full power returned before the second half, so did the power of the Thunder. Russell Westbrook led the way in the second half, finishing with his second triple double in three games. His 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists complimented Durant's 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Durant had his greatest regular season this year, yet by his NBA playoff standards, nothing short of a championship will count as his greatest postseason. Yet he and Oklahoma City hadn't even won a second round game in two years, after losing Games 2-5 to the Memphis Grizzlies last year. However, the Thunder hope that they'll be the team to recover from a Game 1 loss and win four straight in this second round.
The Clippers looked capable of blowing the Thunder away in four straight with their Game 1 dominance. But they came back to earth in Game 2, with no answers for Durant and Westbrook and cooler performances from Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Los Angeles has either tended to be red hot or ice cold in the postseason, with its defense turning out to be pretty cold this time.
The NBA playoffs have been a roller coaster on and off the court for the Clippers, so they can't be too shaken up by this defeat. They got the opening split they needed against the Thunder, and now they will try to defend their home court better, starting with Game 3 on May 9.