Clippers sail past Thunder with big comeback: 5 things to know
The Clippers were down by 22 points at one point but came back in the fourth to defeat the Thunder.
Perhaps they had already turned their attention to Thursday’s matchup against the Golden State Warriors because the Thunder collapsed in the fourth quarter, giving up their double-digit lead and losing, 103-98.
For most of the game, the Clippers couldn't make a shot and were dominated on the boards. The Clippers trailed by 22 points at one point, but in a dramatic turn of events, the Thunder couldn't make a shot in the fourth, kept turning the ball over and couldn't make a stop on defense. It seemed like everything that was going the Thunder's way just stopped, and the Clippers took advantage.
Wesley Johnson, who shot horribly for most of the game, hit a couple of big 3-pointers and played excellent defense on Kevin Durant. Chris Paul started slicing up the Thunder's defense and found DeAndre Jordan on a series of lobs. And Jordan even made his free throws when they mattered. The Clippers closed the game on 26-5 run and outscored the Thunder 35-13 in the fourth.
Paul led the Clippers with a double-double of 21 points (8-for-17 from the field, 4-for-4 from the line) and 13 assists. Jordan was huge as well, finishing with a monster line of 20 points and 18 rebounds. He was absolutely huge in the fourth, scoring eight of his 20 points (including two clutch free throws) in the final 2:47.
In the loss, Durant finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds and Westbrook recorded a double-double of 24 points and 12 boards.
Here are five things to know from the Clippers' victory:
1. A Thunderous start: Oklahoma City got going early Wednesday. The Thunder hit six 3-pointers and played strong defense, holding the Thunder to 8-of-22 shooting in the opening quarter. They also out-rebounded the Clippers 18-8, which resulted in 13-point lead after one.
The Thunder grew their lead in the second, going up by 21 points after six minutes. There was little drop-off once the Thunder's second unit came in as their bench scored 19 points in the first half.
The Thunder kept drilling 3s -- Kyle Singler, Randy Foye and Waiters combined to shoot a perfect 5-of-5 in the first half -- and the Clippers couldn't score against Oklahoma City's defense, shooting 30 percent from the field. At the end of the half, the Thunder were dominating the Clippers, leading by 20 and out-rebounding Los Angeles, 39-21. With such a large cushion, the Thunder must have had a false sense of security because they let up their guard in the second and let the Clippers back into the game.
2. Hey, wha' happened?: The Thunder entered the fourth up 17 points and with a marquee matchup against the Warriors on Thursday, it would have been crucial for their starting unit to get some rest. Instead, the starters played the majority of the fourth and looked out of sync, seemingly shocked that the Clippers were still attacking and refusing to give up.
In the fourth, the Thunder took some questionable shots (OKC shot 25 percent in the quarter), often with plenty of time left on the shot clock, and also turned the ball over six times. Durant coughed up the ball a few times himself, once even stepping on the out-of-bounds line. He finished with six turnovers, including three in the fourth quarter.
Westbrook also made several miscues in the final quarter. Wesley Johnson forced him into a key turnover during the Clippers' run, and Westbrook also took a rather questionable shot with seconds left. Trying to draw a foul, Westbrook took a running 3 that completely missed.
what was this pic.twitter.com/OGBNrE9Uqt— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) March 3, 2016
Perhaps a poor decision by Westbrook but it wasn't just him. The Thunder as a whole fell apart in the fourth.
3. A wild 16 seconds: The fourth quarter wasn't the only wild part of the game. In the third quarter, things got a little sloppy as both teams combined to turn the ball over four times in the span of 16 seconds. Sprinkle in a few missed jumpers and the whole thing was as Gwen Stefani would say, "B-A-N-A-N-A-S."
Here's the play-by-play:
This was a fun stretch. pic.twitter.com/fyUMr0nLk6— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) March 3, 2016
And video evidence of the madness:
4. Dunkin' DeAndre: Jordan came alive in the fourth, scoring eight of his 20 points and grabbing four rebounds. He was a perfect 3-of-3 from the field and made both of his free-throw attempts. Jordan was everywhere, affecting shots on defense, chasing after loose balls (once diving into the crowd to try and save a ball) and coming up big whenever the Clippers needed him. The Thunder just couldn't contain him as Jordan and Chris Paul ran the pick and roll to perfection for two lob plays:
5. Playoff Picture: Despite the dramatic comeback by the Clippers, this game didn't drastically alter the playoff standings in the West. The Thunder are still the third seed and the Clippers are No. 4. However, Oklahoma City is just 1.5 games ahead of Los Angeles, so it is still possible for the Clippers to catch up to the Thunder. Especially if the Thunder keep having fourth quarter collapses.
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