Observations, news and notes from Friday’s game…..
* Not much to say about this one — except for it’s the worst loss of the season.
* No Baron Davis. No Chris Kaman. No Zach Randolph. No Marcus Camby. No Mardy Collins (after only four minutes). No problem for the Clippers. Go figure?
* Watching Eric Gordon go off on the Thunder in the fourth quarter I asked myself over and over, ‘Why isn’t Desmond Mason in the game and checking Gordon?’ Mason, who played only eight minutes due to early foul trouble but had only four at the start of the fourth quarter, had to be asking himself the same thing on the bench. And so I asked coach Scott Brooks about it after the game….
“He had the foul trouble that kind of took him out of the game,” Brooks said. “I believe in Mase. He’s one of our better defenders. But the foul situation and the game flow, we didn’t have a good rhythm all night. He’s a pro. He understands there’s going to be nights where he doesn’t play as many minutes as he likes. But we’re going to figure it out and try to get better from it.”
* To Brooks’ credit, he tried a mix of Durant, Green and Westbrook on Gordon. Durant presented a challenge because of his length, Green because of his strength and overall solid defense and Westbrook because of his quickness and overall solid defense. Still, for as solid as Brooks has been thus far, I’d attribute the Mason oversight to growing pains with a coach finding his way.
* Brooks took quite a while before coming out for his post game interview. More than half the players were dressed and out of the locker room by the time he surfaced.
* Those that were left refused to concede this loss to overlooking the injury-ravaged Clippers.
“I don’t know if we overlooked them. I don’t think we overlooked them,” Brooks said. “But we didn’t come with the defensive mindset that we need. We need all guys thinking about defense and we did not do that tonight.”
Said Kevin Durant: “I don’t think so. Those guys came out hot. They hit their first 10 out of 13 or 14. We knew they were going to play hard. They’ve been doing that all year and guys stepped up tonight for them.”
* A shame Durant’s 46 and 15 went for naught. Both were career-highs. As were his 24 made free throws.
* Durant is now averaging 24.6 points on the year and 27.9 in January.
* Cheikh Samb and Ricky Davis were silent assassins tonight. Davis with his 11 assists and Samb with his eight boards and three blocked shots.
* It’s amazing that the Thunder won the rebounding battle, 48-31, and lost this game.
* It looked like too many people were trying to be the hero in the second half. It led to costly turnovers (nine in the third quarter) and poor shooting (35.9 percent in the second half).
* Brooks said the offensive woes and lack of balanced scoring was a product of poor ball movement.
“Offensively, we didn’t have good spacing,” Brooks said. “We didn’t share the ball well enough.”
Said Durant: “We tend to have some periods like that. Guys on this team can score in the post and on the wing. Sometimes we might think that we have a good iso situation, but I think we’ve always got to get back to moving the ball. I could have moved it a little bit more so I kind of blame a little bit of that on me.”
* Kyle Weaver tweaked his left ankle midway through the second quarter. He was briefly taken to the locker room but returned to the game. He said after the game it felt fine after he returned but was bothersome while on the bench.
* Los Angeles fans chanted for former Clipper Chris Wilcox late in the game.