Veteran Joe Smith has been one of the Thunder’s most consistent players, averaging 7.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 19 minutes a game. Smith wasn’t injured but didn’t play against the Clippers. "It was a decision that just happened during the game,” said coach Scott Brooks. "It’s tough to balance all of our bigs. With Jeff (Green) at (power forward), and you’ve got (Chris) Wilcox, (Nick) Collison, (Johan) Petro and Smith, it’s tough to play five guys at two positions for 96 minutes. "Joe’s a pro. He will be ready. It was just a decision based on Weezy coming out and giving us a good spark. Nick was giving us good energy. It was just a game-time decision.”
Wilcox returnsWilcox suffered a dislocated ring finger on his left hand last week. The original diagnosis was Wilcox would be sidelined 10 days to two weeks, but he missed only two games. Playing with two fingers taped together, Wilcox scored 13 points in 17 minutes. "This is a rough stretch for us,” Wilcox said. "I want to be out there and help my teammates through the struggles. I told the trainer whatever it takes for me to get out there then make it happen.”
Draft rewindThe Thunder selected Russell Westbrook No. 4 overall in last year’s draft while the Clippers took Eric Gordon No. 7. Part of the reason the Clippers traded Cuttino Mobley to the Knicks was to open playing time for Gordon, who scored a season-high 22 points. Gordon has started the last 11 games, averaging 16.3 points the past three games, 8.5 for the season. Westbrook is averaging 12.9 points and has more assists (4.1) and rebounds (4.0).
Fast breakEarl Watson dished out 12 assists but had five turnovers. ... The Clippers scored 29 points off 21 Thunder turnovers... Oklahoma City shot 58.3 percent at the line... There weren’t as many people in the seats as the announced paid attendance (18,275) but it was a good turnout of around 16,000 considering the weather warnings.
Swift updateCenter Robert Swift has a new injury. After being sidelined early in the season by a hand injury, Swift has been sidelined the past eight games by back spasms. At the end of Monday’s practice Swift suffered a severely sprained left ankle in post-practice, one-on-one drills. Best-case scenario is his back and ankle will improve and he might rejoin practice this weekend. "I like going as hard as I can,” Swift said. "You get hurt sometimes doing that but you push through it. My back was getting better but leveled out. I’ve just been trying to do as much as I can to try and get back in shape.” By Mike Baldwin