“He has that competitive edge on just about everything,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said of Paul. “That was a big tip-in for us. His demeanor and his attitude and his approach in everything rubs off on guys. Tonight he was locked in.”
Former Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin, who had 16 points, 12 rebounds and a team-high seven assists, credited Paul for once again saving the game.
“This is why he is the best down the stretch to take over games for us,” Griffin said. “For him to be our guy down the stretch is perfect, but we all have to be ready to help him out if he gets caught up in a bad situation.”
OKC made it easy for the Clippers to chip away at the Thunder's lead, putting L.A. in the bonus at the free-throw line with 8:08 still left in the third quarter. The Clippers wound up shooting 14 for 14 from the line for the period.
Equally amazing, L.A. did not shoot any free throws in the final period and OKC wasn't called for a single foul.
The Clippers outshot OKC 47.8 percent to 31.6 percent in the fourth quarter. L.A. outscored the Thunder 15-10 on second-chance points for the game, which included a 5-0 margin the decisive fourth quarter when the Thunder was outscored 16-6 in the paint and went 3:46 without scoring a point.
“We are disappointed with how we played in the fourth quarter,” Thunder reserve forward Nick Collison said. “We had a lead and we weren't able to keep it. Hopefully we will play better.”