If you were wondering how much depth the Los Angeles Clippers might have in the absence of Blake Griffin, the answer, for this evening anyway, seems to be “Almost enough.” Still, whenever the Clips were in a deep hole, they were able to dig themselves at least part of the way out; down 22 late in the third quarter, L.A. ran off eleven straight before the Thunder were able to knock down a shot. It took a pair of Wesley Johnson treys inside the five-minute mark, though, to get the Clips within single digits, and they kept coming: by 2:30, L.A. was down only four, and a DeAndre Jordan stickback with 1:12 left gave them the lead. (“What a meltdown,” sniffed Royce Young.) L.A. was up 101-98 with 30 seconds left; a Russell Westbrook trey failed to connect, and the Clips pocketed two J. J. Redick free throws to finish the job at 103-98. That fourth quarter: Clippers 35, Thunder 13. This is called “not giving up,” and someone in Thunder blue — Kevin Durant, maybe? — probably should have been taking notes.
Five Clippers nailed double figures, with Jordan (20 points/18 rebounds) and Chris Paul (21 points/13 assists) collecting double-doubles. And by the end of the game, the Thunder’s shooting percentage had dropped a point below L.A.’s; they finished just below 40. There were three Thunder double-doubles — Durant (30 points/11 boards), Westbrook (24 points/12 dimes), and Serge Ibaka (11 points/11 rebounds), but no one else came up with even 10 points.
So two splits: 1/1 for the road trip, 1/1 for the season series with the Clippers, with two to come. Before that happens, though — in fact, before anything else happens, because it’s tomorrow — there’s another meeting with the Warriors, who haven’t lost at home since approximately the War of 1812. Things are not looking pretty right about now.