Chris Paul’s honorary citizenship is in serious jeopardy.
Ditto for Blake Griffin’s actual citizenship.
Those two made no friends Monday night in Oklahoma City. Paul was unconscious from deep, and Griffin was relentless down low. Together, the Clippers’ superstars made for a long and miserable night for the Thunder.
Clippers 122, Thunder 105.
Game 1 of this Western Conference semifinal goes to Los Angeles, and the outcome was hardly ever in question. The Clippers built a 14-point lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
It started with Paul.
Known as a point guard who gets his teammates involved first and looks for his shot second, Paul reversed those tendencies against the Thunder. He hit his first shot, a three midway through the first quarter, and by the end of the frame, he had 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting.
He’d nearly outscored the Thunder all by himself in the quarter, 25-17.
By the end of the half, Paul had 22 points and had nailed all six of the 3-pointers that he attempted. His six threes were more than Memphis had in five of seven games against OKC in the first round of the playoffs.
But Paul wasn’t done. He made the first two 3s that he attempted in the second half and set an NBA Playoff record. Never before had a player hit that many 3-pointers without a miss in a playoff game.
To think, Oklahoma City used to love this guy. He was the young star that fell into the Hornets’ laps right before the Hornets fell into our laps. He was the face of the city’s first franchise.
But after Monday night’s 32-point, 10-assist performance, the love is officially gone.
The same might be true for Griffin. Born and raised in Oklahoma City — and an OU Sooner star to boot — Griffin was still beloved enough before the game to receive a few cheers when he was introduced, but that might not happen again. Big Blake finished with 23 points, five rebounds and five assists, including a couple nifty lobs to fellow big man DeAndre Jordan.
But more than that, Griffin drew several fouls that left Thunder fans grousing. Prime among them was a technical that he drew on Serge Ibaka. Griffin trapped Ibaka’s foot between his legs and wouldn’t let go. Ibaka eventually kicked at Griffin’s foot and was whistled for the technical.
Add it all up, and Paul and Griffin did not win any cool points with Thunder fans — and this was just the first game of the best-of-7 series.
Game 2 will be at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Peake.
It’s doubtful Paul or Griffin will be looking to make any friends then either.