The LA Clippers won a tough, back and forth game to even the season series against the Oklahoma City Thunder 1-1. The Clippers keep the NBA’s best record at 8-1.
Blake Griffin dropped 25 points and the LA Clippers (8-1) beat the Oklahoma City Thunder (6-3) 110-108 on the first night of a back-to-back. Russell Westbrook missed a 28-foot three-point attempt in the closing seconds, partly thanks to some great defense from Luc Mbah a Moute, that would have sealed the victory for OKC.
Jamal Crawford added 19 points off the bench, coming up with some huge shots in the fourth quarter, while Chris Paul tallied 17 point and 10 assists without committing a turnover in the game. The Clippers are now 8-1 and hold the best record in the early season.
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Westbrook shot for 29 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, narrowly missing what would have been his third triple-double of the season. Victor Oladipo chipped in 18 points, Andre Roberson added 13 points and nine rebounds, and rookie power forward Domantas Sabonis continued some impressive three-point shooting with all 12 of his points coming from 4-of-5 shooting from deep.
With their only loss coming to the hands of OKC less than two weeks ago, the Clippers did well to get revenge on the Thunders home court.
They did especially well seeing as OKC were lighting it up from three, which led them forward all game. They shot a red-hot 57.1 percent from deep with 16 made threes.
The Clippers shot only 22.7 percent in the opening quarter, which led to a 24-16 hole by the end of the first. Shots weren’t fall early, but as the game went on, the team were able to find their rhythm and make some crucial buckets. L.A. never panicked and evened it up by halftime 50-50.
Griffin shot 7-of-8 in the third quarter to help the Clippers take a lead 82-74 into the fourth quarter.
The Clippers were back at it with forcing turnovers, too. The Thunder coughed the ball up 16 times.
The fourth quarter saw the thunder carry out the Hack-a-DJ strategy. DeAndre Jordan come through down the stretch to push the lead to seven, while going 6-of-8 from the charity stripe in the quarter (6-of-12 for the game).
The Clippers got a timely bucket from none other than Mo’ Buckets himself after Westbrook tied it up at 102 all. Steven Adams made 1-of-2 free throws on the upcoming play to bring it within one. The Clippers then rattled off 5 points; a dunk from DeAndre and a catch-and-shoot three from Jamal, courtesy of Paul. The Thunder came back again to bring it within two, then Westbrook clanged a three off the back of the rim at the buzzer.
The rebounding was even at 45-45, something that always needed to be close or go the Clippers way in this matchup.
All the Clippers’ starters had a positive +/- for the game, but their bench were all negative. This is important because the bench has been so strong early in the season, and led to the Clippers relying on their starters. Of course, this is going to be the case at times for any team, though.
Two technical fouls on the night: one for Jordan arguing a call and one for Westbrook arguing late in the third quarter.
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The LA Clippers will travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves for Saturday’s game that starts at 8:00 PM ET. The Clippers will have their hands full with a very quick and athletic team (also young and inexperienced), led by Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.