GAME 3 SHOOTAROUND REPORT: DEFENSE, 3-POINTERS
PLAYA VISTA – The Clippers have their hands full with Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
The All-Star duo combined for 63 points in Game 2, but that doesn’t mean stopping them is the primary focus defensively.
“They’re going to score in bunches,” Darren Collison said following the Clippers’ shootaround Friday morning. “They’re going to take a lot of tough shots and that’s going to play to our advantage as well. If we play good team defense we should be fine. I don’t think we’re carried away about how they’re playing. Even though they played great last game, it’s more on us and what we have to do.”
Heading into Friday’s Game 3 at Staples Center, halting the likes of Thabo Sefolosha, who had 14 points in Game 2, and Kendrick Perkins has become more imperative.
“We’ve just got to contain the other players,” Collison added. “Russ and K.D. are going to get their shot attempts up.”
Historically, despite winning 112-101 on Wednesday, the Thunder have not had a lot of success when players score 30-plus points in the postseason. Since the 2011-12 season, when Oklahoma City lost in five games to the Heat in the NBA Finals, they are just 13-10 when at least one player scored 30 points or more.
Westbrook and Durant have scored 30-plus in the same game twice this postseason, a 98-95 loss to Memphis in Game 3 in round one and Wednesday’s Game 2 against the Clippers.
The Clippers have made 91 3-pointers through nine games, the most among teams in the postseason. They’re fourth in percentage (.378) and second in attempts per game (26.8).
However, J.J. Redick said the increased production from 3-point range, up nearly two makes and three attempts per game from the regular season, is just a product of taking what the opposing defense has given them.
“We’re not talking about shooting more threes,” Redick said. “We’re going to play our game and our game is based on Chris Paul pick-and-rolls and Blake Griffin, putting him in spots to make plays, whether that’s in the high post or in the post or rolling on screens. So, the threes are more of a byproduct of that.”