OKC Thunder notebook: Clippers head toward foreign territory

The franchise is close to making just its fifth postseason appearance since 1977 — when it was known as the Buffalo Braves.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 10, 2012

Paul often scrimmaged against Griffin's older brother Taylor, who was a freshman at OU in 2005.

Paul smiled and shrugged off his first impression of Blake. “I had enough going on. I didn't really care too much about OU or what he had going on. I had just gotten into the NBA.”

OKC PREPARATION

The Clippers spent roughly an hour studying film of the Thunder before taking the court at The Peake on Tuesday.

“They're having an excellent year and they've been together,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “(Kevin) Durant and (Russell) Westbrook obviously are a handful, but their other guys are playing together as a team and they're working together and you can see that when they're playing.”

BY THE NUMBERS

8-2 – Thunder's record on Wednesdays

3-3 record this month

43 – consecutive home sellouts

17-0 – shooting 50 percent or better

25-15 – shooting less than 50 percent

15-0 – opponent scores less than 90 points

14-3 – opponent shoots less than 40 percent

8-0 – three OKC players score 20-plus points

28-9 – when Serge Ibaka has 3-plus blocks

20-5 – more assists than opponent

CAREER LOW

During the Clippers' last visit on March 21, Griffin finished with a career-low seven points in 33 minutes and shot 3 for 11 from the field.

Afterward, Paul tried to shoulder some of the blame. “I think that's my job to get him some easier baskets,” Paul said that night. “They guarded him well on the block. I've just got to figure out how I can be better, get him the ball in easier spots.”

Griffin countered: “No, it wasn't that. I got open looks. I missed shots. Games like that happen. ... They've got a lot of offense and they played well tonight.”

As for Wednesday night's game, Del Negro said: “We've got to do a good job of getting Blake on the move, getting him some easy ones, be very good in moving the basketball.”

UP NEXT

Following this game against the Clippers, the Thunder hosts Sacramento at 7 p.m. Friday and then embarks on a five-game road trip to Minnesota on Saturday, to the Clippers on Monday, to Phoenix next Wednesday, to Sacramento on April 20 and concluding at the L.A. Lakers on April 22.

QUOTABLE

Griffin on how the Clippers are playing right now: “Winning cures a lot of things. It helps everybody feel better and kind of gets the ball rolling and I think that's where we are now.”



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