Game #79 | April 9, 2014
Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

  • 107

  • 101

- TOP PERFORMERS -


POINTS REBOUNDS ASSISTS STEALS BLOCKS
30 12 8 2 3
COMPLETE GAME INFORMATION | GAME NOTES
 

Logo

29

30

26

22

107

LOGO

22

32

19

28

101


RECAP

LOS ANGELES – The Clippers just refuse to die.

Trailing by as many as 17 points on multiple occasions, they climbed back in Wednesday’s showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The late rally was not enough as the Clippers fell, 107-101, at Staples Center.

But if nothing else the final quarter lived up to the billing as an early playoff preview for two teams that could be slated to play in the second round next month. The victory for Oklahoma City (57-21) all but ensures they will enter the postseason as the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed, while the Clippers (55-24) are one win or a Rockets loss away from clinching third place.

“One of the things I told [the team] after the game was ‘you’re going to have games like that, but you’ve still got to find a way to win when you’re not right,’” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought everyone individually held onto every mistake tonight and it led to the next mistake. To me, that’s a great sign, like they wanted to win the game.”

Blake Griffin scored 30 points with 12 rebounds. Chris Paul had 25 points and eight assists. And Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 57 points, including Westbrook going for 30 points, 11 rebounds and six assists a night after sitting out in Sacramento.

Behind Westbrook and an off night from the Clippers league-best offense, the Thunder took command of the game in the first quarter and were rarely in jeopardy of losing the lead until late.

Yet the Clippers, who shot 41.9 percent and committed 17 turnovers, had four consecutive fourth-quarter chances to tie or take the lead. They failed to convert on each of the opportunities, committing turnovers on two straight possessions, missing two free throws and a wild layup.

Westbrook followed up a Thunder miss with an emphatic dunk that made it 99-97. Paul answered with a jumper and Durant, who went 8-for-26 from the field, and Darren Collison exchanged 3-pointers before Durant’s free throws extended Oklahoma City’s lead back to four.

“We turned the ball over a couple of times, we missed free throws,” Rivers said. “We did everything we could not to win the game and we still had a chance to win the game.”

Paul, who was being guarded by Durant, drew a foul on the ensuing possession, but missed the first of two foul shots. They forced a miss by Serge Ibaka along the baseline, but Westbrook soared in for the offensive rebound and was immediately fouled by Collison with 15.2 seconds to go. Like Paul, Westbrook missed the first of two free throws. But J.J. Redick missed a 3-pointer of a timeout and Westbrook iced the game with two free throws.

“We definitely had our chances,” Matt Barnes said. “Turnovers bit us in the butt. We’d get contested shots and then Westbrook came up with a couple of big offensive rebounds. We definitely had our chances. We had our looks. And next time we’ll get it.”

The Clippers were 21-of-34 from the line on the night, including some untimely misses. Griffin missed a pair that could have tied the game at 97 with less than three minutes to go and DeAndre Jordan went 2-for-8.

Jordan finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. He also threw down two incredible first-half dunks, including a baseline slam over Ibaka, the league’s second-leading shot blocker.

Because of turnovers and an inability to hit timely shots, the Clippers were effectively playing uphill for most of the night. Griffin made a jumper in the first quarter to tie the game at 19 and Oklahoma City promptly went on a 10-0 run. The Clippers would not get closer than 59-56 after scoring the first basket of the third quarter.

The Thunder pulled away in the third, thanks to a 4:40 Clipper field-goal drought. Their deficit ballooned to as large as 17 and even after slicing it to nine with possession of the ball they could not convert. Collison pushed the ball ahead looking for a 2-for-1 to close the third, but after Oklahoma City retreated in transition the Clippers wound up with a missed 3-pointer by Griffin and Thunder guard Reggie Jackson countered with a 3-pointer of his own with 0.3 seconds left.

Oklahoma City went on to score the first four points of the fourth quarter, reestablishing a 16-point lead that they would not relinquish.

It was the fifth time in the last seven games the Clippers have found themselves down by double digits late in the game. They have come back three times and nearly come all the way back the other two.

“We’ve got to try to keep ourselves out of that position as much as possible,” Paul said, “because it takes a lot out of you to fight uphill like that. We’ve been fortunate enough to come back a lot of times, but sometimes it’s going to catch up with you.”

NOTES

Jamal Crawford missed his fifth game in a row with a strained left calf. He said prior to the game that he expects play in at least one of the Clippers’ final three regular season games before the Playoffs begin… The Clippers are 32-7 at home… Hedo Turkoglu had nine points off the bench… The Clippers were 8-for-27 from 3-point range... Oklahoma City had just eight turnovers… The Clippers won the rebounding battle, 52-44… The Clippers and Thunder ended their season series tied at two wins apiece…

QUOTES

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Starting sluggishly
―It happens. It just happens; I don‘t know why it happens. I wish I could predict it. In the second half I thought we kind of got out of that and started playing the right way. I didn‘t think we played the right way. I didn‘t think the ball moved, I didn‘t think people moved. We‘re better than that. But we were not tonight. And one of the things I told them after the game is ̳you‘re going to have games like that but you‘ve still got to find a way to win when you‘re not right.‘ I thought everyone individually held on to every mistake tonight, and it led to the next mistake. To me, that‘s a great sign... they really wanted to win the game, but each mistake, you can‘t live with it. It‘s over. There‘s nothing I can do about. There‘s nothing you can do about it. But I thought we did that as a group.‖

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Six turnovers in third quarter
―We were sloppy the whole game. Our passes were sloppy. First of all they got into us. I thought they pushed us around a lot tonight—and legally... I thought they [the referees] did it the right way, but I thought the turnovers were a byproduct of us now trying to force ourselves to move the ball, and we were just passing it with no thought, we were starting to just literally move the ball. The problem was we were moving it to them, which is never a good sign.‖

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Tonight’s rebounding
―It was good until the end. They had two gigantic rebounds—both of them were [Russell] Westbrook. We actually talked about their guard rebounding before the game. They are—I mean [Thabo] Sefolosha and [Russell] Westbrook are dangerous rebounders from the guard spots, and they got two big ones. Overall I thought the rebounding part was pretty good.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN


RE: What he takes away from the game
―We have to be a team that stays together. No matter what, we‘ve got to know our identity every single night. I thought tonight we just kind of got away from it. I thought [Oklahoma City] played a little bit harder. They made the big plays, they made the small plays, and it made a difference. ‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN


RE: Coming back from a large deficit
―I don‘t think we‘re ever out of a game. We‘ve been down 17, 15, with five minutes, six minutes left, four minutes left. Whatever it is, I don‘t think we‘re ever out of a game, and that‘s encouraging, knowing that we never stop fighting. The biggest problem is putting ourselves in that position in the first place. That can‘t happen. You‘re going to have off nights, you‘re going to have nights where the ball doesn‘t go in, but we‘ve got to be able to do it defensively and tonight we didn‘t do it. We did it at times, but we didn‘t do it consistently.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN


RE: If he is concerned about the second seed in the Western Conference
―No, we‘re going to have to play three tough teams to get to the Finals no matter what seed we are. If we were 1 or we were 8, we would have to play some tough teams home and away.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL


RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game
―We just have to be a little more consistent, especially on the glass. That was my box-out there, with Russ [Russell Westbrook], that last play of the game, which was a big rebound in the game. We‘ve got to be able to not have so many runs, not have to fight back so much.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL


RE: Coming back from a large deficit
―We‘ve done that all season long. We‘re down, we know the game is never over. We had so many opportunities tonight to win. This game, I mean we had 16 turnovers. It was uncharacteristic. A lot of live-ball turnovers which led to lay-ups, I missed three free throws – we didn‘t play like us.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL


RE: Effect of Oklahoma City’s defensive pressure
―I was just dribbling the ball all over the place. I don‘t want to take anything away from them, but I was just giving it to them – dribbling the ball off my leg and all that stufflike that.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL


RE: Biggest difference between the team last season and this season
―I think the biggest thing is our defense, is how consistent we are with our defense. It‘s not perfect every night, but we know what we‘re supposed to do. It‘s not changed every night. We have our principles.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD J.J. REDICK


RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game
―We gave ourselves a chance to win. We had a lot of opportunities, a lot of 50 -50 balls, a lot of bad turnovers, plays that just didn‘t go our way. You have to give credit a little bit to us for fighting back and

staying in the game. If some bounces go our way, maybe we get that rebound with 15 seconds, and we get a chance to tie the game or take the lead.‖

―When I say the ball bounces in our way, I mean the basketball gods will reward when you play the right way. And we have to play better, and we will be rewarded. But we have to be better. We can‘t expect to play the way we did for stretches of the game and beat a team like Oklahoma City. We all know that, and we‘ll be better.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD J.J. REDICK


RE: Confidence facing Oklahoma City in the playoffs
―We‘re confident against anybody. We feel like we have one of the best teams in the NBA. Obviously, Oklahoma City has been to the finals, San Antonio has been a bunch of times with that group and won championships. Those two teams are the top dogs. We know that, we‘re in the rest of the pack. And until we get to the conference finals and we make the NBA Finals, those two teams are the top dogs.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES


RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game
―At this point there is no moral victories. We didn‘t come out the gates the right way and had to play catch-up in the fourth quarter and it didn‘t work.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES


RE: Defending Kevin Durant
―He‘s a tough scorer. He took 26 shots and scored 27 points so it was a team effort off down picks, blitzing him, and off pick and rolls staying with him so he let go of the ball. But I thought I had stopped a couple of times in the fourth quarter and he hit that step-back three, and he got that foul call, so it was a tough night.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES


RE: Areas that need improvement
―We had 16 turnovers, and then letting them get those offensive rebounds down the stretch. Even though we were down big, we still had a chance to win the game. If we clean up our side, we‘ll be alright.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES


RE: Reasons for the loss
―We definitely had our chances. Turnovers bit us in the butt. And then we get contested shots, and then [Russell] Westbrook came up with a couple offensive rebounds. We definitely had our chances, we had our looks, and next time we‘ll get it.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES


RE: Dealing with the Thunder’s length
―We‘ve played them before, we played them well. A lot of teams are long, we‘re a long team as well so I don‘t think that was an issue.‖

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES


RE: Changes for the playoffs
―We get Jamal [Crawford] back soon, and Danny [Granger] back, so I can say that it‘s going to be won on the defensive end. We‘ve shown that time and time again, and if we get stops, we‘ll win because there is not too many teams that can stop us offensively.

CLIPPERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON


RE: Late fourth quarter three-point shot
―It was a good play. CP [Chris Paul] was able to get into the paint, was able to space out and kick out. I just felt like I was going a little bit slow coming into the game and the jump shot wasn‘t falling early but it came at the right time. But still, we didn‘t make some plays at the end especially on the offensive glass, I mean, defensive rebounding and they just made more plays than us down the stretch and it was pretty frustrating.‖

CLIPPERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON


RE: Performance of Glen Davis tonight
―I thought he had a huge impact. He‘s been playing like that the last few games. Offensively and defensively, he‘s just been giving us the extra energy that we need to have as a second unit. I think it‘s going to be great for us coming down the stretch into the playoffs.‖

 

VIDEO

TICKETS


DATE OPPONENT TIME BUY TICKETS
Saturday, April 12, 2014 Sacarmento Kings 12:30 PM BUY NOW
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 Denver Nuggets 7:30 PM BUY NOW

PREVIEW

By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten


Neither Blake Griffin nor Chris Paul bristled when asked about the importance of Wednesday’s fourth and final meeting of the regular season against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Clippers (55-23) are 1.5 games behind the Thunder (56-21), including two games back in the loss column. They have four games to play, while Oklahoma City has five after winning Tuesday night in Sacramento. Wednesday night at Staples Center could essentially decide which of them winds up the No. 2 seed in a Western Conference where home-court advantage could be crucial.

“It’s a big game for us,” Paul said. “I think we’re up 2-1 right now. It’d give us the series, 3-1. Obviously, being one game behind you always want to move up as much as possible to get home-court if it comes to it.”

The Clippers have won 18 of their past 21 games, a stretch which began with a 125-118 win on Feb. 23 at Chesapeake Energy Arena against the Thunder. Oklahoma City is 13-8 since that loss, allowing the Clippers to make up five games in the standings.

“If they win, they pretty much lock up the two seed,” J.J. Redick said. “If we were to win, it could make things a little interesting if they were to falter along the way.”

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP

Photo

Photo

Griffin

G

PPG

ORPG

RPG

APG

BPG

FG%

2013-14

77

24.0

2.4

9.6

3.8

0.6

.528

vs. OKC

14

22.3

2.9

9.9

4.6

0.9

.529

vs. Ibaka

14

22.3

2.9

9.9

4.6

0.9

.529

 

Ibaka

G

PPG

ORPG

RPG

APG

BPG

FG%

2013-14

76

15.2

2.7

8.6

1.0

2.6

.537

vs. LAC

17

11.6

2.6

6.0

0.5

1.6

.664

vs. Griffin

14

13.2

2.9

6.6

0.6

1.8

.664

THREE THINGS TO WATCH ON PRIME TICKET

- Entering Tuesday’s game against Sacramento, Kevin Durant had scored 25 points or more in 41 straight games. However, his streak was broken after reaching just 23 in 31 minutes. Still, Doc Rivers called Durant the most difficult player in the league to defend, something that has proven true against the Clippers. Durant has averaged 29.0 points per game and shot 46.7 percent in 24 career games.

“It’s a team thing,” Griffin said of defending Durant, “just make it a little tough for him. You can’t give him easy, open looks. He’s going to make shots. He’s going to get his points. He’s the best scorer in the world in my opinion. It’s just a matter of trying to make it tough for him, not necessarily trying to stop him.”

 - While the Clippers and Thunder may not have much in common in terms of style of play, they both intend to play at a top 10 pace. The Clippers use 98.3 possessions per 48 minutes, while the Thunder use 98.0 possessions. Moreover, they both rank amongst the most efficient offenses. Despite Oklahoma City getting its points from essentially two spots (Durant and Russell Westbrook) and the Clippers running things through Paul, they are both in the top seven in offensive efficiency.

- The Clippers are on the verge of tying the franchise record for most wins in the regular season and setting the franchise record for most home wins in a single season. They are 55-23 and can tie the record of 56 wins set by the 2012-13 club with a victory over the Thunder. If they move to 56-23, they will have reached the record three games sooner than last season. They also are 32-6 at home. The 2012-13 team went 32-9 in home games.

NOTES

The Clippers have a “magic number” of two to clinch at least the No. 3 seed. Any combination of two wins by the Clippers or two losses by the Houston Rockets will give them third place in the West… Westbrook, who has not played in back-to-backs over the last few weeks, did not play Tuesday in Sacramento in order to be ready for Wednesday night in Los Angeles… The Thunder signed rookie Grant Jerrett on Monday, giving them a full 15-man roster. Jerrett, a forward from Arizona, worked out for the Clippers in June prior to the 2013 Draft… Former Clipper Caron Butler has scored 10 points or more nine times since joining the Thunder in March… The Clippers are 34-11 since Jan. 1, half a game behind the Spurs for the best record in that span… Paul is 30 assists away from passing John Havlicek for No. 28 all-time in career assists… Oklahoma City is 24-14 on the road and have swept six of their 14 back-to-backs this season…

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Blake Griffin: “It’s a big game. You can’t really dance around that. They’re right in front of us and we have a chance to [catch them]. But at the same time, it’s still going to go up another level in the Playoffs. It’s not going to be quite like it will be in the Playoffs, but it will be an intense game.”

J.J. Redick: “Any time you play the Thunder or the Spurs or the Heat or any teams that have had a lot of postseason success, it’s a good measuring stick. It’s also a good precursor to what a Playoff game is going to be like. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a playoff atmosphere and both teams are obviously fighting for something right now in terms of seeding and finishing up the season strong.”

INJURY UPDATE

LAC: Jamal Crawford (calf) and Danny Granger (hamstring) are both expected to sit out.  

OKC: None reported

REGULAR SEASON SERIES HISTORY

All Time: 70-125 (Home: 48-50, Road: 22-75)
2013-14: 2-1
Current Overall Streak: Won 1

Home Streak: Won 1
Last Win: Nov. 13, 2013 (111-103)
Last Loss: Mar. 3, 2013 (104-108)

Largest Margin of Victory:
Home: 30 (114-84), Nov. 3, 2004
Largest Margin of Defeat:
Home: 41 (85-126), Apr. 15, 2009

SEASON SERIES

Nov. 13, 2013 at Staples Center: Clippers 111, Thunder 103
Nov. 21, 2013 at Chesapeake Energy Arena: Thunder 105, Clippers 91
Feb. 23, 2014 at Chesapeake Energy Arena: Clippers 125, Thunder 117
Apr. 9, 2014 at Staples Center

LAST TIME OUT


RECAP | BOX SCORE

Clippers Leaders:

Pts: Paul/Griffin 23
Reb: Jordan 12
Ast: Collison/Paul 6

Last Time Out



120


97


OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Thunder Leaders:

Pts: Durant/Butler 23
Reb: Collison 7
Ast: Jackson/Fisher 5

 

BOX SCORE »


107


92