Five Takeaways: Clippers lose second straight, fall to Thunder on road

by Caden Kinard

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Clippers (37-31) hung around late, but could not overcome the Thunder in a 121-113 loss in Oklahoma City on Friday night.

Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ loss.

1) Quiet night for Big 3 –

The trio of Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Russell Westbrook shot a combined 16-of-41 for a total of 44 points. Westbrook, the ninth leading scorer in the NBA, took until midway in the third quarter to reach double-figure scoring, finishing the game with 16 points, while adding 11 assists and 10 rebounds, his 22nd triple double of the season. Anthony, one of the great scorers in league history, managed only 9 points total on the night. George led the trio with 19 points. The Clippers did a fine job following the game plan, forcing other players to beat them, but Oklahoma City’s role players stepped up, with Steven Adams stealing the show.

The center tallied 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 blocks, being the main peg in his team’s success. Late in the game, when the Clippers closed the Thunder lead to five, Adams secured offensive rebound after offensive rebound, extending Thunder possessions. On defense, he rejected Jordan at the rim when the Clippers had a chance to force a one possession game late.

2) Jordan nearing franchise record –

For the 12th time this season, DeAndre Jordan grabbed 20 or more rebounds, finishing the game with 21 rebounds and adding 11 points. Over the last 9 games, Jordan gas averaged 18.8 rebounds per game, a torrid pace. The center sits one game shy of his career-high in a season, and tying the franchise record with 13 20-rebound games.

When Jordan sits, the Clippers replace him with one of two x-factors off the bench that usually bring the Clippers a jolt of energy: Montrezl Harrell or Boban Marjanovic. Tonight, it was Marjanovic that brought the mismatch the Clippers sought. In only eight minutes of play, Marjanovic scored 8 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, not to forget his play-altering height, forcing Thunder players to shoot further than desired.

3) Quick start –

Even on the second night of a back-to-back, the Clippers showed no early signs of tired legs, going on an 8-0 run to start the game. After a couple traded buckets, the Clippers led 13-4, with Austin Rivers outscoring the Thunder, as the guard totaled 7 points on two buckets in the paint and one three. The early run gave the Clippers enough of a cushion to end the quarter up three.

Rivers finished the game with 23 points, second on the team, including four three pointers.

4) Thunder’s defense changes game --

The game was tied 38-38 early in the second quarter, with both starting lineups mostly out. Then, the 32-year old Corey Brewer outran everybody. The guard’s hyper-energetic pace provided a jolt to the Thunder’s defense, which in turn forced the Clippers’ offense into throwing six turnovers in the quarter, as the Thunder used a seven minute stretch to go on a 22-12 run, scoring on multiple possessions with Brewer outhustling the Clippers’ defense on both ends.

Brewer ended the night with 22 points, a season-high as he still acclimates with his new team. Terrance Ferguson and Patrick Patterson both hit two threes in the game, scoring 12 and 8, respectively.

5) Harris finding a rhythm –

For the 11th time in 18 games with LA, Tobias Harris scored 20-plus points, ending with a team-high 24 points, and matched a Clipper-high with 6 assists. The sweet-shooting forward is in the midst of a career year, averaging 18.8 points on 41.4-percent shooting from deep.

What’s Next? – The Clippers head home to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. PDT.

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