Russell Westbrook says they are flopping.
Indeed, Game 5 of a Western Conference semifinal series that already has included 15 individual technical fouls ought to be interesting.
Oklahoma City appeared ready to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series on Sunday, but instead the Thunder squandered a 16-point lead in the final 10 minutes of a 101-99 loss that evened things up at 2-2. Control will be at stake on Tuesday, and the team that keeps its emotions in check could come out with the advantage.
Durant is frustrated with the way the Clippers are defending him. The Clippers had success with the 6-foot point guard Chris Paul guarding the 6-foot-9 Durant at times in the second half on Sunday. Though Durant made 7 of 10 field goals after the break, he also committed seven turnovers. Durant said Paul played him well, but he had a lot of help, some from 6-foot Darren Collison.
“Little guys get up under you, but they’re not just going to play me one-on-one,” Durant said. “Basically, they’ve got three guys watching me. They’ve got one behind me, so when I caught it, they double-teamed as soon as I caught it. And when they didn’t double team, I scored. People always have something to say about the 1-on-1 matchup, which never happens in this league, especially with me.”
Durant said there’s more than good defense going on.
“Every time I pass the ball, there’s a guy on my arm,” the league MVP said. “I’m 6-9. There’s no way two six-footers are going to get the ball. You do the math.”
When asked about the chippiness between the teams, Westbrook said the Clippers were creating some of it with their actions.
“There’s a lot of flopping going on, I can tell you that much,” Westbrook said.
A league spokesman confirmed Monday that Ibaka will not be punished, and a Thunder spokesman said both teams were informed Monday the contact was deemed inadvertent. Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who said the league should review Ibaka’s punch, is unhappy with the way Griffin has been treated all season and in this series. The Thunder have left the star forward bloodied more than once.
“It is hard to keep your cool,” Rivers said. “You’re getting hit - I think at times, illegal hits. I think he’s been taking them all year and he’s been doing a great job of (dealing with) it. I don’t know if anyone has taken more punishment this year than Blake. In my opinion, some of them have been aboveboard and some of them have not been. People keep getting away with it.”
The Thunder need to stay focused and deal with those issues while moving on from the disappointment of Game 4.