Sports Headlines - May 8



KD accepts MVP in front of crowd, Thunder tie up series with Clips 1-1

Kevin Durant was officially presented with his MVP trophy last night in front of a crowd at Chesapeake arena before the Thunder’s game 2 against the Clippers. But this time, his speech was short, and to the point… “I wouldn’t want to accept this award in front of anybody except you guys in here,” referring to the crowd in attendance who were already on their feet.

“But now it’s time for you guys to be the loudest you can be tonight, because we need to win this game.”

The crowd didn’t disappoint, disrupting the Clippers as much as THEY could, and helping lift the Thunder to a 112 to 101 victory.

Durant showed in last night’s game why he definitely deserved this year’s MVP, coming one assist short of a triple double, recording 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. The five-time allstar put together a performance that made everyone watching forget about his less-than-stellar run so far in the postseason, and hopefully putting it behind him.

But Durant wasn’t the only player on the court making huge plays. Russell Westbrook recorded his third triple-double of the playoffs with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, though the final assist is under some scrutiny.

Westbrook played with an energy that Durant spoke passionately about during his MVP acceptance speech on Tuesday, and helped the Thunder surge into a 20-point lead at one point during the game.

Even Chris Paul of the Clippers acknowledge that Westbrook was “playing harder than all of us combined.”

Serge Ibaka tacked on another 14 points and Thabo Sefolosha  brought in 14 too, but had three steals in the second half and several breakaway points that brought a massive amount of energy back to the arena.

Sefolosha got his second start since being benched for Caron Butler toward the end of the round 1 series with Memphis.

Between the highly active defense and powerful offensive performance last night, Clippers guard Jamal Crawford described it best when he said the Thunder were “The Perfect Storm” last night.

Game 3 will be Friday night in LA.


Hibbert leads Pacers past Wizards, 86-82 in Game 2

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Big Roy came up with a big answer for his critics and his teammates Wednesday night.

He played like an All-Star when the Pacers really needed it.

After 48 hours of questions and criticism, Roy Hibbert scored a season-high 28 points, grabbed nine rebounds, blocked two shots and altered a handful of others to help the Pacers get even in the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 86-82 victory over Washington.

Hibbert sounded more relieved than redeemed.

"David (West) always talks to me about being the person that rescues yourself when you're in the middle of the ocean," Hibbert said after Indiana tied the best-of-seven series at 1-1. "There's nobody who can throw a lifesaver or a rope out to help you. So I had to do it myself."

The next step is proving he can play this way again Friday when Washington hosts Game 3.

Hibbert went into Wednesday with a combined total of 37 points and 24 rebounds in Indiana's first eight playoff games. Twice in the previous four he failed to score a point or grab a rebound.

Beleaguered Pacers fans wanted Hibbert benched. Frustrated teammates talked publicly and privately about needing more from their 7-foot-2 center. Critics turned Hibbert into the butt of jokes and on the Internet, some even tried to explain Hibbert's incredible disappearing act with unseemly speculation.

After talking to his old college coach, John Thompson III, and Colts linebacker Robert Mathis, a close friend, Hibbert blocked out the inescapable firestorm, focused on basketball and fueled the decisive 6-0 run late in the fourth quarter.

It was enough to put repeated smiles on Hibbert's face, even if he considers it only a start.

"I just want to string a few games together," he said. "Consistency hasn't been my biggest friend this year. I'm going to try to continue to play aggressive and I'm going to try to control the things I can control. I can't control play calls, but I can control how hard I play, how fast I run down the court and how well I play defense."

 

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