Clippers 92, Thunder 77
Observations from the Thunder's 92-77 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night at Staples Center:
- The Thunder (44-17) is entitled to have a stinker from time to time, but what transpired in the second half Monday night will require some serious fumigation. The second half stunk so bad it completely overwhelmed a rather sweet-smelling first half for OKC, which led 52-43 at intermission.
- Had Monday's second half transpired at Chesapeake Energy Arena, not even the forgiving Thunder fan base could have resisted booing at least a little bit. Seriously, it was that bad.
- By the numbers: The Thunder scored 25 points in 24 minutes and shot 29.0 percent in the second half; Clippers guard Nick Young scored 19 points in 21 minutes for the game and had eight points in a span of 90 seconds late in the third quarter; the Thunder would have scored just two points the entire third quarter if not for Serge Ibaka, who scored all 12 of his points (5 for 6 shooting) and grabbed seven of his eight rebounds in that period alone; James Harden went 0 for 3 in the third period and still shot better than Russell Westbrook (0 for 4) and Kevin Durant (0 for 5).
- Westbrook made his first three shots and four of his first six attempts, then went 0 for 10 the rest of the game and looked completely out of sorts.
- What's particularly odd is the Thunder's poor shooting in the second half seemed far more noticeable than anything unique the Clippers did defensively. OKC helped make the Clippers look darn good.
- Nobody looks good when they miss open shots. On Monday, that included the entire Thunder roster at various moments. "If you go back and watch this game, man, we got great looks," Durant said. "We're missing lay-ins. They did a good job sometimes, but we got good shots, man. Russell missed a few. I missed a lot. Serge missed a few lay-ins. Perk. It's not like they just completely locked us down. I'm not going to say that."
- You know something's amiss when the Thunder shoots 62.1 percent (18 for 29) from the free-throw line. Can't blame Westbrook because he never got to the line, which further proves OKC's lack of attack mode.
- The refs certainly didn't cost the Thunder the game, but veteran official Joe Crawford seemed particularly grumpy tonight. He slapped a double-technical on Durant and Mo Williams, then hit Harden with a 'T' while jogging down court, and still had time to miss three blatant calls involving Nick Collison. For whatever reason, Crawford still seems to think sellout crowds show up to watch him. Again, these had nothing to do with the outcome of the game, but it was still horrible officiating. Ahhh, feel better now. OK, moving on.
- Young alleged afterward that Durant talked smack all game long, an accusation that genuinely stunned Durant when asked about it. "I didn't say anything. I didn't say a word to Nick. I was talking to Mo Williams," said Durant, for which he received a technical. Young alleged to LA reporters that Durant said to Young, "You think you can guard me?" Durant smiled in disbelief and said, "Nah, I didn't say that. I guess he's hearing things."
- Collison has always been a voice of reason for the Thunder. After Monday's loss, he shot down the theory that on rare occasions, things are so bad – such as Monday's second half – that sometimes the best thing to do is pretend it never happened. Just turn the page, burn the game film and move on. "Nah, I don't think so," Collison said. "I think you always have to take inventory of where you're at as a team and what you can do better. There's going to be a lot of things we're going to watch the tape and feel like we need to do better at. The good thing is it doesn't mean we can't (figure it out) by next game. That's what our outlook is. You have to look at it and make changes and change how we play because it obviously wasn't good enough tonight. First half was solid, and then in the second half we didn't do anything well."
- Even Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro was shocked at the Thunder's shooting. "I thought our defense in the second half held the Thunder down," Del Negro said. "(Oklahoma City players) missed some shots that they usually make, but we were scrambling and contesting shots. Overall, it was just a solid team win for us. … 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.
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