Oklahoma City blew a seven point fourth quarter lead, but held on in overtime to beat the Los Angeles Clippers in overtime 117-111. Led by Kevin Durant’s 35 points, the Thunder grabbed the early lead in overtime and never looked back. Oklahoma City improves to 9-3 on the season and 6-2 on the season.
In what is considered a match up of the two best teams in the league, the first quarter started out very hotly contested. The Clippers lead early as Blake Griffin had four of the first six points. The rest of the first quarter was a balanced scoring attack, including a 13 point barrage by Kevin Martin. Oklahoma City led by as many 10 in the first quarter.
As the visiting Clippers tried to make a second quarter run, the Thunder said no. Oklahoma City kept Los Angeles at arm’s length all quarter. With 7:35 left in the quarter, Los Angeles cut the Thunder lead down to five points at 41-36. Martin scored seven points over the next four and half minutes as Oklahoma City pushed their lead to 10 points again at 56:46 with 2:57 left until halftime. The half was culminated on Russell Westbrook finding Serge Ibaka for a 24-foot three-point buzzer beater that pushed the Thunder lead back to 10 at halftime. Thunder lead by as many as 11 in the first half
It was balanced at halftime. Oklahoma City had three players in double figures and Westbrook only had one turnover while scoring nine points and notching seven assists already. So, you could easily say that Oklahoma City might as well had four players in double figures.
Oklahoma City struggled, slightly, in the third quarter. While they contributed to no assists in the third quarter, they were able to keep the Clippers at just a touch’s length. I know, slightly shorter than an arm’s, but just long enough. The Clippers multiple times got the Thunder lead down to four and five points, but each time Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant pushed it back.
In the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles Clippers came at the Thunder hard. They cut it down to three points at 78-75 with 10:42 left in the quarter. Then, Nick Collison and Hasheem Thabeet, yes those two, came back with four straight, impressive points. It was capped off by a Martin lay up, pushing the Thunder lead to 84-75 with 9:10 to go.
With 2:56 to go in the fourth, Oklahoma City led 98-91. Los Angeles Clippers used their bodies to get to the line to make six of their next eight points. Matt Barnes tied the game up at 102 each as he hit a jump shot. Russell Westbrook missed a runner on the other side with 21 seconds to go. Chris Paul had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but the shot was missed.
In overtime, the Thunder started out right by Westbrook nailing a three, and they never looked back. Durant and Westbrook combined for every Thunder point in overtime. Six of Durant’s free throws came in the overtime period. The Clippers never had a chance in overtime.
Keys of the Game
Oklahoma City turned the ball over 19 times this evening. Six of them were by Kevin Durant. Oklahoma City forced 14 Clippers turnovers, and that helped heal the wound a bit. However, if they want to win other games, can’t do that. I’m sorry.
This is a really untrackable stat. It’s not even a real stat. However, the Thunder banged downlow with the Clippers. They didn’t back down. They continued to go at them. Unlike against the Grizzlies, they didn’t falter. I want to see MORE of this team as the season progresses.
Yeah, we gave up 111 points tonight. However, the defense for 3 1/2 quarters was fantastic. We defended the ball movement, the penetration and the pick and roll. The way Thabo Sefolosha shut down Chris Paul was something that wins Defensive Players of the Year awards. I’d like to see it a lot more.