So finally we win one from the Clips. No-longer-interim coach Scott Brooks came up with the idea of starting Shaun Livingston at the two, just in case there was any lingering mental block about coming back to the place where poor Shaun shredded his knee. In his primarily-defensive role, Livingston came up with six points and seven rebounds. And if you thought the Thunder might want to go out with a bang, well, things were certainly incendiary at the Staples Center: Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy decided in the third quarter that he’d seen enough and rolled up two technicals, earning him a free pass to the locker room. Thunder 126, Clippers 85, a blowout by any definition of the word, and a hell of a way to cap off a season.
The Thunder were utterly dominant from start to finish: they shot 53.9 percent, 10 points better than the Clips, and reeled in 49 rebounds versus 31. Two from the OKC bench posted double-doubles: Earl Watson (16 points, 14 assists) and D. J. White (15 points, 11 boards). Nick Collison spent more time in the middle than starter Nenad Krstić and knocked down 17 points. The Big Three? Kevin Durant 26, Jeff Green 19, Russell Westbrook 14, and none of them played as many minutes as Livingston, who logged 33.
Bright spots for L.A. were few and far between, though Mike Taylor’s 60-foot buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter certainly got a rise out of the sellout crowd. And rookie Eric Gordon shot 10 for 15 for 22 points.
So: 23-59. Hollinger actually predicted that, I think. It’s about ten fewer wins than I was anticipating, but then I tend toward the goofily optimistic when it comes to hoops. There will be changes during the summer: two first-round draft picks, a few departing players, and a fair amount of actual cap space, should Sam Presti want a shot at a free agent. But right now, it’s late and it’s a school night.