The Thunder fell 111-103 to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, losing the first game of a three-game road trip. Here’s some rapid reaction:
Leading by six late in the first half, the Thunder were playing about as well as we’ve seen them this year. But then an altercation (detailed here) led to the ejection of Serge Ibaka (who was 6/6 for 13 points at the time) and Matt Barnes (who was 0/5 for zero). Nice trade-off for the Clippers, who outscored OKC by 14 the rest of the way.
It was over when…
…The Clippers went on a huge run to start the fourth quarter, while the Thunder were featuring an all-bench lineup that included Hasheem Thabeet and Derek Fisher. I know OKC was short-handed, but this seemed like a crucial point of the game. And to have neither Westbrook nor Durant on the floor made little sense. The Thunder made a late push (once their stars reentered), but it was too little, too late.
Star of the game – Chris Paul
Blake Griffin led the team in points (22) and rebounds (12), but Chris Paul was the conductor. He dissected the Thunder defense throughout the night, controlled the pace of the game and made the big plays when necessary. His final line: 14 points, 16 assists, seven rebounds, three steals.
The Thunder’s young second-string backcourt (Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb) has been promising throughout the early season. But both had a tough opener to this crucial road trip. In 25 minutes, Jackson went 2-of-6 for nine points and committed a pair of costly turnovers late, while Lamb, in 14 minutes, went scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting.
-The Thunder committed 22 turnovers. And it was a communal effort. Durant had five, Westbrook had five, Thabo had four and six other players had at least one
-OKC was outrebounded 50-35
-Thabo Sefolosha was 0-of-2 from three. He’s now 1-of-16 from deep in November.
Vine of the night
Kevin Durant scored 33 points, giving him more than 30 in five of the seven games this season. Here’s four of them:
The Thunder travel up-state to Oakland for an intriguing matchup with the Warriors on Thursday night. Golden State is great at home and you know that crowd is going to be fired up for a national TV showdown. Tip at 9:30 on TNT.