The Clippers have one of the deepest squads in basketball. Kevin Durant doesn’t know what the word ‘ceiling’ means. Immovable object met unstoppable force Tuesday night in Los Angeles and the Thunder edged the Clippers – minus a day-to-day Chris Paul – 109-97 in a game that really wasn’t as close as that differential would indicate.
Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka both had nice nights, and Blake Griffin did his thing, but as he is known to do, KD’s star power eclipsed every other big name on the court. Durant finished with 32 points, and holy shit is that 24-year-old’s game smooth; between the unreal 5-6 three-point shooting and the highlight reel dunks, it’s safe to say that Durant is playing at a level that few have ever experienced (Grantland’s Zach Lowe has a great article on KD’s incredible season. I couldn’t play that well on Rookie in 2K.
Still, those Clippers faithful out there can’t get too discouraged. These two teams will be fighting for the top seed all season, and, if our NBA dreams come true, will knuckle up in the conference Finals. Don’t expect it to be as one-sided as Tuesday’s game might indicate, either: as Miami and Shane Battier proved last year, physical defensive wings can remove Durant from his comfort zone, and between Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom and Caron Butler, the Clippers have clearly been stockpiling that type of player.
Not that Durant can’t shoot his way out of anything these days. But if there’s a team in the NBA equipped to slow down the Thunder, isn’t it the Clippers?