LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Clippers are searching for defensive intensity under new coach Doc Rivers. They found it for the final 24 minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Blake Griffin had 22 points and 12 rebounds after being involved in a first-half scuffle that resulted in two ejections, sparking Los Angeles to a 111-103 victory Wednesday night.
"You would have to say it woke us up a little bit," J.J. Redick said. "It hurt both teams."
Serge Ibaka of the Thunder and Matt Barnes of the Clippers were ejected, and Griffin received a technical foul for his part in the altercation with 6 seconds left in the second quarter.
"Just a little extra after the play," Griffin said.
Kevin Durant had 33 points, making 15 of 17 free throws, and 10 assists to lead the Thunder, who had won four straight. Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 10 assists.
"They just beat us," Durant said. "We've got to finish the game out. No excuses, no matter who's out there. Of course we'd rather have Serge out there, but it didn't happen like that. We still had a chance to win the game."
Jamal Crawford scored 20 points off the bench for the Clippers, who had six players in double figures while winning their third in a row. DeAndre Jordan and Redick scored 15 each, and Chris Paul had 14 points and 16 assists.
The fireworks began when Griffin was trying to put the ball up and his arms and Ibaka's became entangled. Barnes shoved Ibaka hard in the chest. Griffin kept trying to get at Ibaka as players from both teams formed a scrum.
"I didn't think it was going to turn into that," Griffin said. "After I turned around and heard the oohs and aahs and knew we were into something."
Ibaka cocked his right fist, but didn't take a swing as Barnes smiled at him. As he left the court, Barnes reached over a barrier, grabbed his young son and held his hand as he walked off. Later, Barnes left the locker room before the media was allowed in.
"I didn't see the video after that, so I will try to make sure I watch it," Ibaka said. "I was disappointed, but I will learn from my mistake. I don't want to think about it no more."
Durant made the free throw on Griffin's technical and Westbrook hit a 3-pointer to give the Thunder a 62-53 lead at the break.
"I have no complaints about what happened," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We didn't lose the game because of that incident, trust me. The bottom line is they outplayed us."
The exchange certainly riled up the Clippers.
Down by 10 early in the third, they rallied with a 14-2 spurt to go up 74-71, their first lead since the opening quarter. Redick had a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer, Paul had two free throws and a basket and Griffin capped it with five straight points.