The Clippers left both Baron Davis and Marcus Camby at home with the flu, which might have been a favorable omen, given the depleted state of the Thunder these days. No such luck. The number of available Oklahoma City players continues to drop: both Nick Collison and Chris Wilcox checked out early, leaving the team with a worse-than-usual dearth of bigs. Back-to-back treys from John Lucas and Kevin Durant, however, put OKC in front halfway through the fourth, and the lead seesawed back and forth until Los Angeles’ Mike Taylor finally put it away with a slam with 30 seconds left, followed with two timely free throws. Down five, up came the Hail Mary from Russell Westbrook at the buzzer; the bucket counted, but it wasn’t enough. Los Angeles 90, Oklahoma City 88, and now we rest for a week.
Whatever Johan Petro is drinking, I want some of it; the Last Remaining Big hauled in 15 rebounds and 12 points, and blocked three shots. The Kevin Durant Show produced 18 points, though it would have been nice had KD dropped in that last trey in the last 20 seconds. And for the fourth time in five games, the 1-4 Thunder outrebounded the opposition. Go figure. The Clippers’ Al Thornton got the big points for the night, scoring twenty-three. And in the absence of Baron Davis, the Clips put up two other guys named Davis: Paul and Ricky.
If there’s a pattern so far this preseason, it’s the willingness of this team to gut it out in the last frame: they’re always behind at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and they always fight back. I have to figure that the 16,000 souls who turned up for a game that officially doesn’t count for anything were pleased to see that happening. This team isn’t going to win a lot of games this season, but so far, the Roll Over and Die reflex seems not to be part of the playbook.
And the same problem that afflicted the box score from Tulsa last night seems to be recurring tonight. What’s the deal? Is this an SMG problem? Or is this a ruse to sell more tickets by assuring the locals that they can’t get the scores off the Internet? We shall see.
Two more preseason games, both on the road: Thursday (23rd) at Phoenix, then Friday (24th) against the Lakers. The season begins on the 29th, when the Bucks come to town.