It was foreordained, I suspect, that Lou Williams would lead all scorers tonight, and Paul George’s sixth and last foul left everyone wondering who could possibly stop him. Between 2:00 and 1:30, Williams put up five points, and shortly thereafter, Russell Westbrook fouled out. And he kept going, 13-24 for the night, 4-6 on the long ball, and 10-15 at the stripe for 40 points. What’s more, Danilo Galinari, also a perennial pest, knocked down 34. But as radio guy Matt Pinto will tell you, loudly, the zebras did at least as much to beat OKC as those two guys; the Clips’ 31-46 free throws (OKC managed 17-26, a percentage nearly as indifferent) made the difference in L.A.’s 118-110 win and a split in the season series. If you ask me, though, where this game really shines is in the plus/minus column, where inveterate flopper Patrick Beverley had a game-high +20 while scoring, um, zero. Oh, and Steven Adams also fouled out in the waning moments, perhaps as a show of solidarity.
That Williams line is fearsome; apart from all those points, Lou scarfed down seven boards, served up six dimes, and executed four steals. (The Thunder had only three in aggregate.) He’s been Sixth Man of the Year twice, and I won’t be even slightly surprised if he gets it again this year.
Before their untimely exits, Westbrook had amassed 32 points, and PG-13 15, both firmly on the minus side of the ledger. Interestingly, the OKC reserves were all plus, except Donte Grantham, who played only the last nine seconds; Nerlens Noel (six points, five boards, +13) led that pack.
At least there’s some breathing room until the last game on this road trip, Monday at Utah. These guys must be tired. And somewhere in an unnamed officials’ lounge, a whistle is being swallowed.