LA Clippers roll past Thunder, 120-108

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Russell Westbrook drives to the basket as Clippers forward Spencer Hawes tries to defend on the play. Westbrook finished with 24 rebounds and nine rebounds.
Thunder guard D.J. Augustin dribbles past a Clipper defender Wednesday night in the Thunder's 120-108 loss.
Steven Adams (12) battles DeAndre Jordan for a rebound Wednesday night.
Serge Ibaka shoots over the hands of Los Angeles' Harrison Barnes. Ibaka finished with 15 points and three rebounds.
Enes Kanter (34) attempts a shot during Wednesday's game. Kanter finished with 18 points.
Oklahoma City forward Kyle Singler tries to slap the ball away from Harrison Barnes.

By Tim Farley

From start to finish, Oklahoma City struggled defensively Wednesday night as the Los Angeles Clippers rolled to a 120-108 win over the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Los Angeles scored more than 30 points in the first and third quarters while the Thunder defense failed to match up to the hot-shooting Clippers. Los Angeles hit 15 of 30 three-point attempts including eight of 16 in the first half. Point guard Chris Paul and forward Harrison Barnes combined for 11 of 15 treys to pace the Clippers.

Paul was the game’s leading scorer with 33 points followed by JJ Redick with 25 and Barnes with 22.

“They (Clippers) played a great game,” Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. “Chris Paul, I thought he had the game under control. They played well, but we didn’t play the defense that we know we are capable of playing. Tonight, they (Clippers) had their way. The ball was played with a lot of freedom tonight. They were picking us apart.”

For Oklahoma City, Anthony Morrow was the leading scorer with 26 points, hitting six of nine treys for his best offensive output as a Thunder player. Russell Westbrook was held to 24 points while collecting nine rebounds and dishing out seven assists. However, the turnover bug hit Westbrook Wednesday as the league MVP candidate threw the ball away 10 times, which accounted for half of the team’s turnovers.

“Russ had a rough night, you know turning the ball over. He’s been good. I mean he’s been beyond good for a long time. He will bounce back,” Brooks said.

Los Angeles jumped out front early leading by as many as 15 points before the Thunder went on a 17-8 run to close the gap, 36-30, to end the first quarter.

A hot-shooting Morrow led Oklahoma City in scoring in the first half with 17 points, including five of seven successful shots from behind the arc.

“He had a hot hand tonight. We scored enough points. We scored 108 points. On our home floor, that’s usually pretty good. We gave up 120, we gave up free throws, we gave up 15 threes. It’s not about offense. It’s about the defense. We have to be a much better defensive team.”

The Thunder tied the score twice in the second quarter before the Clippers closed the first half with a string of three-pointers that gave Los Angeles a 65-57 edge.

Los Angeles’ largest lead came midway through the third quarter when Barnes hit a three-point shot at the 5:09 mark, giving the Clippers a 91-69 advantage.

The Clippers finished the game shooting 46 percent from the field compared to 43 percent for the Thunder.

Los Angeles used only three reserves until late in the game while Oklahoma City’s bench outscored the Clippers 49-18. However, the Clippers’ starting five outscored the Thunder’s top five 102-59 as Andre Roberson and Kyle Singler tallied a combined two points.

GAME NOTES: Despite the loss, Oklahoma City outscored the Clippers in the paint (32-26), on second chance points (17-7) and fast break points (24-19)…The Thunder also grabbed more rebounds (39-38)…Oklahoma City hosts Minnesota Friday before Chicago comes to town for a noon tipoff on Sunday…The loss dropped Oklahoma City into ninth place in the Western Conference, a half-game behind the New Orleans Pelicans.

 

 

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