Thunder problems come up at wrong time
OKLAHOMA CITY — When the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday the issues that plagued them the most were defense and offensive execution down the stretch. Kevin Durant was sensational with 40 points but the Clippers were able to throw off his game late in the contest by using Chris Paul as his chief defender. Paul has made several all defensive teams and is one of the fiercest competitors in the NBA. But he is about 8 to 9 inches shorter than Durant, who is the league's best scorer. So why did this tactic work? Thunder coach Scott Brooks was to the point and honest with his assessment."I could do a better job with our play calling," says Brooks. "We could do a better job setting up and setting screens. We have to do a better job reacting to those double teams. And be able to capitalize on those double teams."As good as Durant is and was in Sunday's loss he did have eight turnovers with a couple coming as he was trying to pass when the the Clippers sent two players to defend him. But as much as we talk about OKC's inability to exploit a matchup the bottom line is you can't give up 38 points in the quarter, which is what they did in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was honest in his evaluation of his team that blew a 16 point lead in the final nine minutes."You can talk x's and o's and all that stuff but we relaxed. When you relax it never turns out well for you."The Thunder and Clippers play game five Tuesday night in Oklahoma City at 8:30.