What’s different between Clippers at Thunder and Thunder at Clippers? For one thing, the likelihood of a Flagrant 1 being called on Chris Paul in Los Angeles is vanishingly small. For another, there’s the incredible speed with which Loud City can change direction: Blake Griffin, homeboy, got lots of applause until the tipoff, at which time he became Blake Griffin, enemy. I always marvel at that. Regardless of venue, though, these two teams always mix it up: the Clips have definitely earned their position as No Longer The Other Team In Los Angeles, and the Thunder will never run out of “Beat L. A.” stuff. It helps, of course, if you actually beat L. A. once in a while, and the Thunder got a measure of revenge for their loss at the Staples last week, pounding the Clippers, 105-91.
What the Clips did really well was finding shot opportunities: they put up 13 more shots than the Thunder, including a 29-shot barrage in the second quarter. What they didn’t do was cash in those opportunities consistently: those 29 shots brought only 21 points. It didn’t help that they only got 15 foul shots in the whole game and missed eight of them. Still, the stalwarts lived up to their billing, with CP3 (17 points, 12 assists) and Griffin (27 points, 10 rebounds) collecting the only double-doubles for the night, and DeAndre Jordan bagging 12 boards. Jamal Crawford anchored the bench with a solid 18.
The Thunder’s newfound 3-ball prowess got lost on the way to the arena, or something: OKC went 4-19 from long. Russell Westbrook hoisted six of those bricks all by himself. Still, Russ was there when you, or Kevin Durant, needed him, and KD logged a game-high 28 points. Serge Ibaka showed some more of that offensive stuff: 17 points on 8-10 shooting, and oh, three blocks, just in case. Jeremy Lamb led the reserves with 11.
So 1-1 against the Clips. Not too shabby. The second rematch of the season comes Sunday against the Jazz.