ThaboSefolosha140507PlaysG300Oklahoma City Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha feels they are capable of overcoming their Western Conference semifinal uphill battle and regain their home-court advantage following a 122-105 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

When Sefolosha told the media they “have been there before,” he was referring to their first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, in which they bounced back on two occasions before claiming Game 7.

Now, in the best-of-seven series, the opponent goes by the name of Los Angeles Clippers, a highly motivated team that overcame the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 and is still dealing with the Donald Sterling scandal.

Sefolosha returned to the starting line-up on Monday after siting out the last two games against the Grizzlies, contributing 5 points and 2 rebounds, but the Thunder were poorly defensively, dropping their worst home loss since relocating to Oklahoma City from Seattle in 2008, and allowed Clippers’ guard Chris Paul to score a career-high 8 three-pointers.

Moreover, Wednesday Game 2 means the beginning of Thunder’ uphill battle against the Clippers.

“It is not the end of the world,” Sefolosha argues.

And judging by his comments, this second-round series is far from being decided in only four games.

“You know, it’s never easy, so at the same time it’s the first to four wins, and we’re down one. We’ve just got to go back and see what we can do for the next game,” he explained.

Thunder’ finest Kevin Durant, who has been named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the first time during his seven-year career, insisted they have got to be more physical, and move the ball a little better if the OKC is to bounce back in the series.

As Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook said on Monday, the series is not about Chris Paul versus Thunder, instead, it is the Thunder versus the Clippers.

“We just understand that we don’t go into Game 2 with a 17-point lead. You’ve just got to come back and be hungry and not be satisfied with one,” Paul pointed out.

Blake Griffin v Serge Ibaka

But, the battle in the paint between Blake Griffin and Serge Ibaka always plays a big part in the meetings between the two sides, who split the regular-season with with two wins apiece.

Griffin ranked sixth in the league with 24 points per game in the regular season, while Ibaka led the league in total blocks in the regular season.

Grifin finished with 23 points and 5 rebounds in Game 1, while Ibaka contributed 12 points, 6 boards and 2 blocked shots for the Thunder.

“It is tough to stay aggressive against him. He is a physical player and, at times, you have got to avoid to get in foul trouble,” Ibaka said of coming against Griffin.

Serge Ibaka, who is averaging 12.9 points per game in the postseason, is on a solidarity mission.

For each of his blocked shots in the playoffs, the Congolese-born pledged to donate $500 (US Dollars) to the United Nations Children’s Fund.

He currently counts 20 blocked shots, and a lot more are expected to come in the Western Conference semifinals.


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