I’m a little embarrassed that the name of this Oklahoma City Thunder blog is Thunderous Intentions after what Blake Griffin did to Kendrick Perkins Monday night.
The Thunder didn’t come out sharp in this game and were unable to comeback after falling behind early. Blake Griffin had the dunk of the year in the third quarter but it was earlier highlights that sparked the Clippers’ 112-100 win over the team with the best record in the West.
The Thunder gave up 36 points in the first quarter to the Clippers but got back into the game in the second half behind a 10-2 run.
Trailing just 52-46 with 1:34 to play, the Clippers would go on to make four-straight three-pointers to close out the half and take a 64-46 lead into the break.
The Thunder showed signs of a comeback in the second half but they just didn’t get enough production from players not named Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Durant and Westbrook both had big nights with Durant leading the way with 36 points and 13 rebounds and Westbrook chipping in with 31 points and five steals.
The Thunder were in search of a third wheel all night and just didn’t get it from anyone, not even James Harden who scored just seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.
Griffin and DeAndre Jordan provided the high-flying highlights for the Clippers but it was their floor general, Chris Paul, who orchestrated the attack.
Paul dished out 14 assists in the game before shutting the door on the Thunder with four straight hoops in the final 3:33 of the game after the Thunder had cut the score to 103-90. Paul ended up with a team-high 26 points to go along with his many dimes.
The Thunder fell behind early as the game featured a few frenetic sequences with the bounces seemingly all falling the Clippers’ way. The game seemed up-tempo in the first half but the Thunder did not register a single fast break point while turning the ball over 10 times (five by Westbrook).
The Clippers hit 10-of-14 threes in the first half and finished the game going 13-of-25 from deep.
Jordan helped set the tone early on defense blocking three shots in the first half to go along with nine points and seven rebounds.
Playing with good energy was one of the keys I laid out for the Thunder in this one and they definitely tried to but the Clippers were able to suck it all away.
The Thunder’s near comeback attempts really is a testament to just how talented this team is. Even with getting almost no help for Durant and Westbrook they still had a chance.
Thabo Sefolosha missed the game again and he was missed. Harden started in his place and didn’t seem to be able to get in the same rhythm he normally does in his role coming off the bench.
The pick-and-roll defense was not very good overall for the Thunder in the game but it did improve toward the end when they were making their comeback in the fourth quarter. It’s bound to improve because the Clippers really only run pick-and-roll so that’s all the Thunder defense was seeing tonight.
This matchup is an extremely exciting one and if these two teams meet in the playoffs (hopefully the Western Conference Finals) it will surely be one amazing playoff series.
The Thunder aren’t going to win every game this season it just is unfortunate sometimes when they lose big games like this that everyone should be up for.
Oklahoma City (16-4) will play at Dallas (14-8) for their next game on Wednesday, Feb. 1.