Clippers beat Thunder 92-77 Clinch Playoff Berth

Some reaction to the Clippers win over Oklahoma City tonight, their third in four meetings with the Thunder:

Clippers Head Coach Vinny Del Negro
RE: Tonight’s win against the Thunder
“I thought our bench did an overall great job. I thought our defense in the second half held the Thunder down. [Oklahoma] missed some shots that they usually make, but we were scrambling and contesting shots. Overall, it was just a solid team win for us.”

Clippers Head Coach Vinny Del Negro
RE: Confidence
“This game was all about confidence. When you beat new teams with a new group, I think it just builds your confidence. I was pleased with the team effort tonight. It’s going to be difficult enough to get all of these guys enough minutes in terms of making them satisfied. But if the ultimate goal is to win, you have to work your minutes.”

Clippers Head Coach Vinny Del Negro
RE: Defense against the Thunder
“If you give Oklahoma a steady diet, guys like Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and even James Harden are going to make you pay for it. They missed some shots, but I think that we did a good job defending.”

Clippers Head Coach Vinny Del Negro
RE: The play of Nick Young
“I was pleased with Nick [Young] because he didn’t settle with his first couple of shots. In the second half, we made some adjustments on their coverage, and I figured that Nick would be open and he was able to knock down those shots.”

Clippers Center DeAndre Jordan
Re: Quality Win Tonight
“We came out and we were clicking tonight, defensively and offensively. Guys came in and stepped it up big tonight. Nick [Young] came out and had a good game for us. We just played as a team and got the win, so I’m excited.”

Clippers Center DeAndre Jordan
Re: Clinching first playoff berth since 2006
“I’ve never been to the playoffs, and a lot of guys on this team haven’t either. We’re excited. The fans and the franchise have been waiting for something like this to happen for a while. We’re really excited to be in the playoffs, but that’s not the only thing we want. We still have a goal for this team, and this is just one of the steps towards it.”

Clippers Guard Chris Paul
Re: Quality Win
“This is a good win for us. We wanted to clinch a playoff berth tonight, especially here at home in front of the home crowd.”

Clippers Guard Chris Paul
Re: Stretch run in the Western Conference Playoff Race
“It’s going to be fun and exciting regardless, when it comes to the West. There’s so much battling and jocking for position right now. I think for us, we just want to keep winning games and see how high we can move up the standings.”
Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks
RE: The difference between the first and second half
“It’s easy; we didn’t make our shots in the second half. Give them credit; they did a good job of defending. They got hot from the three point line and we missed shots and free throws, they played well the second half.”

Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks
RE: What they wanted to do in the second half
“We would have liked to see a combination of shots and drives to the bucket. We need to mix it up and get to the line, we are an attack team and an aggressive team. We usually are a high field goal percentage team and tonight we just didn’t make shots. They got better looks, but we missed shots that we normally make.”

Thunder Guard James Harden
RE: The Clippers zone defense
“We just couldn’t make our shots. Shots that we usually make were not going in. We missed a couple open threes and a couple easy layups. Their zone was effective to some point, but I think it was more of us just missing shots.”

Thunder Guard James Harden
RE: Nick Young making three wide open threes
“He was a killer to us tonight. We played hard and we were in control for most of the game and then we gave up three 3s to a good shooter and when he knocks them down it is a momentum changer. They hit some big shots and made some good plays.”

Thunder Forward Kevin Durant
RE: The importance of momentum going into the playoffs
“It is very important. Playoffs begin two days after the season ends so it is very important for us. We have to win the next game in order to get our momentum back. It is not time to panic now, it’s time to win the next game.”

Thunder Forward Kevin Durant
RE: Improved Clippers play
“When you add three All-Star caliber players to a team, of course they are going to be good. It’s not like they just got better from last year, they added three All-Stars. When you get guys like that in one summer of course you are going to make a jump.”

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