Game #18
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA
January 30, 2012 | 7:30PM (PST)
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TEAM 1 2 3 4 FINAL
25 21 24 30 100
36 28 26 22 112

Eric Patten (@ericpatten)
LOS ANGELES–The Oklahoma City Thunder entered Monday’s showdown with the Clippers as the prohibitive favorite in the Western Conference.

Everything out West was supposed to run through Oklahoma City, who had won 11 of their previous 12 games en route to the NBA’s best record.

The Clippers, playing their second game in as many nights, barreled over the Thunder, 112-100, in arguably their most complete performance of the season, and one that might alter all that OKC or bust rhetoric.

Chris Paul had 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting and matched his season-high with 14 assists. Caron Butler scored a season-high 22 points. And Blake Griffin resurrected images of last season’s ferocious dunk over Timofey Mozgov with a high-flying throw down over the Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins in the third quarter.

Griffin finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks, while his running mate DeAndre Jordan had 11 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks.

READ: Griffin Throws Down 'Dunk of the Year'
“We had great energy to start the game and our ball movement was very good,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Overall, everyone contributed. I thought DJ [Jordan] did a great job controlling the paint. Blake had a little foul trouble in the first half and we rode him the second half. Obviously, Chris controlled the whole game with not only his scoring but his assists and the tempo.”

All of it came, despite Oklahoma City stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combining for 67 points, or 67% of the team’s offense. The Clippers (12-6), who for the first time this season tabled a double-digit scoring night from six players, held the other three Thunder starters (Perkins, Serge Ibaka, and James Harden) to 11 points.

L.A. ran out to a 36-25 lead with a sterling first quarter, which included 11 points apiece from Butler and Paul. But the Thunder crept back in the game, cutting the lead to six with 1:35 left before halftime when Durant went 1-of-2 from the free throw line. Twenty seconds later, the Clippers opened up a stretch that Paul called the most “amazing” thing he’d ever seen in the NBA.

Reserve guard Mo Williams nailed a 3-pointer to get the lead back to nine and Butler followed with a corner 3-pointer in the secondary break. The Clippers got another stop on the defensive end and Williams dropped in a pull up three from the left wing. Butler then swiped the inbounds pass dished to Williams, who found

Billups for the team’s fourth make from beyond the arc in a 51-second span.

“It [the Clippers’ lead] went from six to 18 in a minute,” Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. “That doesn’t happen very much and it is probably the only time it will happen this year.”

The Clippers shot 56.3% from the field and finished 13-of-25 from 3-point range (52%). The Thunder (16-4) entered the night holding their opponents to 41.8% (tied for second in the league).

“When you move the ball like that and share it like that and hit threes like that you’re going to win a lot of games,” reserve forward Ryan Gomes said.

The ball movement and outside shooting opened up the inside where Griffin seemed to have his way in the second half, including his emphatic slam over Perkins in which Griffin violently threw the ball in from a couple feet away.

READ: Clippers' Three-Party
And as the Thunder gradually made headway, cutting the Clippers’ lead to as 11 on several occasions, L.A. did something unselfish or spectacular to match.

“We can’t say that we’ve arrived after this game,” said Paul, who scored eight points in the fourth quarter on an array of dribble moves and step-back jumpers. “We’re going to look at the film and there’s still a lot of things we’ve got to clean up, but like I keep saying it’s a great win for us especially with a young team like this.”

Ask Clipper Nation: Was Blake's dunk the best you've seen?
Ask Clipper Nation: Was Blake's dunk the best you've seen?
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Butler scored his 10,000th career point on a corner 3-pointer at the 5:50 mark of the first quarter. He is the 47th active player to reach the milestone… The Thunder allowed 64 first-half points, ten more than their previous season high… The Clippers are 4-0 when Griffin blocks two or more shots… Westbrook committed six of the Thunder’s 17 turnovers… Durant had 13 rebounds… The Clippers are 10-2 at home this season.

Check out some of the social media posts from tonight's game!

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