LA Clippers Fall Late Against OKC


77. 100. 149. Final. 99

A brilliant night by Chris Paul was not enough to overcome Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as the Thunder defeated the LA Clippers.

Perhaps Chris Paul had to do too much as he filled the stat sheet while facing offensive dynamo Russell Westbrook for four quarters?

The Los Angeles Clippers looked poised to finally get their first victory over an elite team as they remained ahead for the majority of the thrilling final sequence.

The drama of the final minute began with Westbrook hitting a huge three pointer to give the Thunder the lead but it was met by a thrilling dunk by Blake Griffin over Serge Ibaka.

On the next play, Westbrook had a huge steal to gain possession away from J.J. Redick.  With a foul to give, Paul was able to exploit a poor pass inbound from Dion Waiters to get the steal and the bucket to put the Clippers ahead 99-98.

Despite a poor shooting night, Kevin Durant hit a critical shot with 5.8 seconds left to put his team ahead 100-99.

On the final possession, Chris Paul couldn’t find an opening and threw up an air ball that sealed the fate for his Clippers.

The loss overshadows what was a dominant game for Paul who had 32 points and 10 assists.  He had to do the brunt of the work on a night where Blake Griffin had an abysmal shooting performance.  Griffin had only two points at half-time and finished the night with 15.

The Clippers forward only shot 7-21 from the field against the Thunder.

Redick and Lance Stephenson had 15 and 10 points respectively.  DeAndre Jordan had a subdued night, with 8 points and 10 rebounds.

The Clippers were also without Paul Pierce and Austin Rivers due to injury.

The Thunders’ duo had another spectacular night as Westbrook led both teams with 33 points.  Durant provided 24 points while Ibaka chipped in 17.

OKC will have one more game in Los Angeles on Wednesday against the Lakers before their marquee Christmas Day game against the Chicago Bulls.

The Clippers have now suffered their third straight loss.  Two of them are against teams ahead of them in the standings in the Thunder and Spurs.  The Clippers also fell to the Rockets in Houston on Saturday night.

The team now has three full days off before they play the Lakers on Christmas Day.

The match-up is a favorable one for the Clippers as the team on paper should look to over-power the young roster of the purple and gold.

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The team will also benefit from being lost in the holiday coverage.  Of the five nationally televised games that will play on Christmas, the Lakers-Clippers game will air last.

While usually a day where teams want to be the featured attraction, the Clippers will have the benefit of flying under the radar as they try to snap their three-game losing streak.  Although airing on ESPN, the game will air after what will be an exhausting day of basketball (and holiday cheer.)

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Even many die-hard fans will be ready to change the channel after all the match-ups earlier in the afternoon which gives the Clippers a chance to play with less pressure on their performance.

After a tough stretch, a win over their hallway rival on Christmas would undoubtedly provide a boost in morale for the Clippers.