NBA Recap: Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 10.20.20 AMThe Los Angeles Clippers showed a lot of fight and grit in a 111-103 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night at Staples Center.

With the Clippers doing their usual drowning act in the first half, after blowing an eight-point lead to start the game, they found themselves trailing by nine points heading into halftime.

But when the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka decided to re-ignite his constant hatred of the Clippers’ Blake Griffin by not letting go of him after a play was dead, Matt Barnes took exception and gave him a healthy shove.

Ibaka would come back with a clenched fist, but would never throw it. The final outcome was Ibaka, who was 6-6 from the field with 13 first half points, was ejected, and so was Barnes, who was 0-5 with a couple of airballs.

The Clippers got the best part of that tussle.

The Thunder took a 62-53 lead in to halftime. But the fight seemed to light a fuse under the team. J.J. Redick was 0-for-the world in the first half led the team with 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter.

The reason for the outburst is that Doc Rivers’ defense, which seems to only come out in third quarter of games this season, shut down the Thunder offense and forced 15 turnovers, which led to easy buckets by Griffin, who continued his double-double tear with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while point guard Chris Paul became the first Clipper in history to have a double-double in nine consecutive games with 14 points and 16 assists.

The Clippers exposed a weakness in the Thunder, after Ibaka was ejected, the only scorers in double-figures were Kevin Durant with 33 points and Russell Westbrook, who added 19 points.

In turn the Clippers had six players in double-figures. With DeAndre Jordan’s 15 points, Jared Dudley’s 10 points, and Jamal Crawford with 20 points.

Crawford has showed his fourth quarter presence, especially in the last three games, scoring 35 out of his 54 points in the final quarter.

The Thunder seem to still be missing the presence of James Harden, but most importantly Kevin Martin, who left to play in Minnesota. Some nights Westbrook and Durant may carry the team to victory, but they need a prolific scorer to come off the bench. Unfortunately Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb are not ready for the job.

The Clippers’ defense only allowed 41 points in the second half, while scoring 58 points. They still haven’t put a full 48 minutes together on the court.

It will be interesting to see what happens against Brooklyn Saturday, after a big win that should have brought a team closer, Barnes sent a derogatory tweet out in the third quarter saying he is tired of sticking up for his teammates because it is costing him a lot of money.

My advice to Barnes, keep your mouth shut, and work on your game. You were brought in to be an enforcer type player who can play defense. You have been injured most of the season, concentrate on getting back on the court and playing your game. Don’t mess up team chemistry, because you did you good thing standing by your teammate, who has been disrespected by Ibaka dating back to last year.

Clippers leaders
Points: Griffin – 22
Assists: Paul – 16
Rebounds: Griffin – 12
Steals: Two players tied with 3

Thunder leaders
Points: Durant – 33
Assists: Westbrook, Durant – 10
Rebounds: Durant – 5
Steals: Thabo Sefolosha – 6

– They showed some grit after letting an eight point lead disappear and trailing by as many as 15 points, coming back for the victory
– They stepped up defensively in the second half, forcing 22 turnovers the whole game
Chris Paul continues to score and pass the ball
Jamal Crawford continues to shine in fourth quarter
Reggie Bullock played in the second half for Barnes

Matt Barnes‘ tweet in the third quarter
– Barnes not ready to play in games
– Griffin doesn’t rotate on defense to help teammates
– Clippers’ first half defense
– Free throw shooting

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