The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, 120-111 to snap a 4 game losing streak. On a night where OKC got the absolute best we’ve seen from newcomer Paul George, the story of the game was the Thunder’s execution down the stretch. After leading most of the night, the Clips tied up the game at 105 with 5:37 to go. However, this time out, the Thunder responded with a 14-4 run over the next 4 minutes that rebuilt the cushion and sealed the win.
George led all scorers with 42 points on 13-22 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Especially down the stretch, PG repeatedly used ball screens to break into the lane and either finish at the rim or draw the foul. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook finished with 22 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds, but during a tough stretch in the 4th he had several miscues that allowed the Clips back in the game.
The Thunder were without Steven Adams, who missed the game with a calf contusion. No update on when he’ll be ready to play again.
Adams was replaced in the starting lineup by Dakari Johnson, who unsurprisingly struggled a bit against the springy DeAndre Jordan, who collected 7 ORBs on the night. But to his credit, Dakari hit a big face-up jumper with 2:12 remaining, and I can’t even believe I wrote that sentence.
OKC recorded 5 assists in the 4th quarter which, while not overwhelming, is certainly better than what they had (or hadn’t) been doing so far this season.
Lou Williams led all Clips scorers with 35 points on 13-22 shooting, including 6 threes. What was most maddening though is the shall we say, slight, and perimeter-oriented Williams managed to grab 7 rebounds on the night.
The Thunder did yeoman’s work in guarding Blake Griffin, who scored only 17 points (5 below season average) on 5-19 shooting with 6 rebounds. A number of players got a crack at stopping him, but it was Andre Roberson who repeatedly flustered Griffin from a clean path to the rim, where he missed a number of contested shots in the lane.
I suppose the moral of the story tonight is, winning is better than losing.