The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers on the road last night 109-97 to improve to 33-9 on the year.
The Clippers were without Chris Paul in the game who missed it with a sore right knee. Eric Bledsoe started in his place and played 35 minutes, scoring 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
The Clippers didn’t play a terrible game but fell behind early and couldn’t come back as the Thunder got hot from deep, making 15-of-27 threes in the game.
The Thunder shot 52.6 percent from the field for the game and got 25 points from their bench.
The Thunder will be playing a back-to-back tonight at Golden State.
Here are the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 41 minutes, 32 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists – A
Durant started out slow then became unstoppable late. He made 5-of-6 threes, most of which were with a defender right on him which was very demoralizing for the Clippers. He capped off the night with a drive and dirty dunk in traffic which you can see here. It was another great all-around effort from Durant too as he picked up the seven dimes and seven boards. He really does look like the MVP right now.
Russell Westbrook – 38 minutes, 26 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds – B+
It felt like Westbrook shot worse than he did (9-for-19) and that’s a good thing. Westbrook didn’t have the challenge of matching up with Chris Paul and took advantage of Eric Bledsoe. When Westbrook shoots this well and does a decent job of getting others involved, it’s really hard to beat the Thunder.
Serge Ibaka – 39 minutes, 17 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block – B+
Ibaka had a nice all-around game offensively. It wasn’t just jumpers for him but he did make quite a few including a three and another near three where his toe was on the line. He faced up a few times and took his man off the dribble for scores. He didn’t exactly shut down Blake Griffin who had 31 points in the game but it didn’t cost the Thunder.
Kevin Martin – 32 minutes, 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists – B+
Martin had it going in the first half, hitting all three of his threes then and helping the Thunder pull away early. Two of the threes were with a hand in his face. Martin’s shot has been off lately so it was good to see him swish a few threes last night. The Thunder definitely needed him at this time with Westbrook and Durant not exactly lighting it up in the first half.
Kendrick Perkins – 7 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist – D
Perkins committed four fouls in just seven minutes. It was probably a blessing because it meant more minutes for Nick Collison.
Thabo Sefolosha – 23 minutes, 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist – B
Sefolosha got caught up in the Thunder’s hot shooting knocking down three threes himself. He did other good things on offense driving after pump fakes on the 3-point line. Sefolosha did not have to guard Chris Paul on the other end so his defensive impact wasn’t as important.
Nick Collison – 41 minutes, 8 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks – A+
Durant and Collison each played 41 minutes but Collison had a plus-minus of +20 and Durant just +8. Yeah, Collison is pretty good. He only averages 19 minutes per game but Perkins getting in foul trouble in both halves made this game possible for him. He does everything. He got four offensive boards and blocked two shots. He rescues offensive possessions with great off-ball movement. The Thunder looked really, really good with he and Ibaka out there together.
Reggie Jackson – 11 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist – B
Jackson is really looking better this season. He’s more comfortable and decisive on the floor. His defense and rebounding is a big asset to have in your backup point guard too.
Hasheem Thabeet and DeAndre Liggins each played just five minutes and didn’t score or do much else.