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OKC Thunder stumbles against Clippers

L.A. CLIPPERS 92, OKC THUNDER 77 — Clippers seal first playoff berth in five years as they pull away late from West-leading Thunder.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Modified: April 17, 2012 at 9:59 am •  Published: April 17, 2012

This superb shooting helps explain why the Clippers nearly doubled up OKC's point total after halftime (49-25).

Clippers point guard Chris Paul finished with 10 assists while OKC had 12 assists as a team.

Results such as these are referred to as aberrations – a serious departure from the norm. What the Thunder experienced after halftime could be called "abhorrations" because they were regarded with horror and loathing.

The Clippers already had clinched a playoff spot when Monday night's game began against the Thunder, sealing their first postseason spot since 2006 because the Houston Rockets lost at home to Denver.

Perhaps for emphasis, the Clippers then went out and humiliated OKC before a sellout crowd of 19,516.

OKC's poor shooting was the sole difference in the game. Other numbers weren't all that skewed, in fact they were pretty much dead-even.

The Clippers had a 38-34 advantage for points in the paint; The Clippers outrebounded OKC 46-42; both teams had 16 offensive rebounds; the Thunder won second-chance points 20-19 and fast-break points 9-8; OKC's biggest lead was 11, but the Clippers' biggest lead happened to be the final margin.

It was the Clippers' second convincing victory at home over the Thunder this season, the other coming in a 112-100 triumph on Jan. 30 when they shot an astounding 56.3 percent from the field against OKC.

The Clippers won the season series 3-1, which included back-to-back wins five days apart. The Clippers also won 100-98 at Chesapeake Energy Arena last Wednesday night.

In both setbacks, Durant (14 for 39) and Russell Westbrook (7 for 30) struggled mightily from the field, combining to shoot 30.4 percent.

On Monday night, Durant shot 7 for 18, which actually was better than the 7 for 21 he shot at home.

Westbrook finished 4 for 16 on Monday and missed his last 10 shots. He hit his first three shots, scored the Thunder's first seven points of the game, finished the first quarter with nine points and didn't score again.