LOS ANGELES – For the Thunder, there hasn't been a worse half of basketball.
Not this season, not last season, nor the season before.
What transpired in the second half of Monday night's 92-77 humiliating loss to the Los Angeles Clippers turned back the clock to OKC's first season of existence in the NBA, the torturous days of a 3-29 start.
All Thunder players can try to do is pretend the third and fourth quarters never happened Monday at Staples Center, if that's possible.
Feel free to hold your nose while looking at the numbers:
- The Thunder shot 29.0 percent (9 for 31) from the field, shot zero percent (0 for 11) from 3-point range and shot 46.7 percent (7 for 15) from the free-throw line in the second half. OKC's season averages coming into the game were 47.4 percent from the field (tied for first in the NBA), 35.9 percent on 3-pointers (10th) and 80.3 percent from the line (first).
- This horrendous shooting explains why the Thunder scored just 25 points after intermission, which was a season low by nine points. The Big 3 of Kevin Durant (1 for 8), Russell Westbrook (0 for 5) and James Harden (1 for 6) combined to score eight points and shoot 10.5 percent (2 for 19) after halftime.
"We just couldn't make out shots," Harden said. "Shots we usually make were not going in."
Like shots from inside 5 feet, where OKC missed 13 attempts.
In the fourth quarter, the Thunder went 3 for 11 from the field and scored 11 points in 12 minutes. OKC's final points came with 3:48 left in the game.
Perhaps the most shocking tidbit of all: Take away forward Serge Ibaka (5 for 7), and OKC shot 16.7 percent (4 for 24) from the floor in the second half.
"It's not time to panic now," Durant said. "It's time to win the next game (Wednesday at Phoenix)."
Making matters even worse was the fact that while the Thunder (44-17) was going from good to bad, the Clippers (38-23) went from bad to good after OKC had taken a convincing 52-43 lead into intermission.
The Clippers shot 37.2 percent (16 for 43) from the field and 33.3 percent (3 for 9) from 3-point range in the first half, then shot 52.6 percent (20 for 38) and 54.4 percent (6 for 11) in the second half.
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.