Clippers Complete Biggest Comeback Of Year Vs. OKC
Score: LAC 103 – OKC 98
LOS ANGELES – The Clippers’ biggest comeback of the year didn’t start with Wesley Johnson’s back-to-back fourth quarter 3-pointers, or DeAndre Jordan’s subsequent head-over-heels flip over the courtside seats chasing down a rebound, or Jordan’s two separate and-one finishes in the final two minutes.
Ask the Clippers how they got the energy for their 22-3 run to make up a 14-point deficit with five minutes left and beat the Thunder, 103-98, and they look to the backups.
Next Game: 3/5
Tipoff: 7:30pm PDT
“I went out to start the fourth quarter, and Jamal Crawford looked at me and said, ‘We’re going to get us back in this thing by the time you guys get back in,’” said Chris Paul, who finished with 21 points and 13 assists. “I don’t know if he’s a fortune teller, but he did it.”
The Clippers trailed by 17 points after three quarters when the reserves jumped out to a 6-0 run to start the fourth. At the time, they couldn’t get the Thunder lead back to single digits. But for the first time all night, they brought the energy back to STAPLES Center.
Once the starters returned, they had no issues taking that intensity up another notch.
The Clippers needed some sort of boost, trailing by double digits nearly the entire night, and after the second unit started to provide it, Jordan and the starters kept it going. The Clippers, who trailed by as many 22 points in the game, scored 22 points in the final five minutes of the victory, while holding the Thunder to just five points in the final 7:26.
For three quarters, the Clippers couldn’t defend or buy a shot, then all of a sudden they had no problem with either. No one embodied that bounce back more than Wesley Johnson, who shook off a 1-for-11 start to hit two clutch 3-pointers – the latter cutting the Thunder lead to single digits for the first time since the first quarter – then later forcing Russell Westbrook out of bounds with 1:31 left.
At the other end, Jordan kept the momentum going giving the Clippers their first lead of the fourth quarter on a bucket with the foul, hitting the free throw. Jordan finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds, helping the Clippers find a way past a Thunder team sitting one spot ahead of them in the standings.
Key Moment: It’s hard to leave out any part of a fourth quarter in which the Clippers outscored the Thunder, 35-13, getting eight points apiece from Jordan and Johnson and six points apiece from Jamal Crawford and Cole Aldrich.
Clippers Star: DeAndre Jordan – He brought energy when the Clippers needed it, then continued to finish offensively when the Clippers needed it, scoring six points in the final two minutes and hitting both of his free throw attempts on and-one opportunities during that stretch. Jordan finished 8-for-13 from the floor while recording his 36th double-double of the season.
Thunder Star: Kevin Durant – Austin Rivers gave him some trouble late, but Durant still finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. The Clippers knew his size presented issues, particularly with Luc Mbah a Moute out of the lineup after getting stitches to his eyelid.
X-Factor: Chris Paul – He probably could’ve finished the night with 20 assists had the Clippers had their shooting touch in the first three quarters. Instead, he settled on 13 assists, including five in the fourth quarter, routinely getting good looks for his teammates to help complete the comeback.
Doc Rivers – “When you sit and watch the second group play with that type of energy, I think it infuses everybody. It almost gave the starters a blueprint on how we had to play the game.”
Wesley Johnson – “Every time I came to the bench, they kept saying, ‘Keep shooting.’ I couldn’t be bashful.”
DeAndre Jordan – “We came in at halftime and said that wasn’t us, the way we were playing. We’re way better than that. We’ve got to be able to play against teams like this, these caliber teams, like we did the last eight minutes the entire game.”
NOTES: Austin Rivers returned from a 10-game absence with a fractured left hand … J.J. Redick left the game briefly with a lower back contusion but returned shortly after, finishing with 16 points … Doc Rivers described the Thunder as “a devastatingly good rebounding team,” and they showed why, pulling down 63 rebounds, including 18 offensive rebounds, despite the Clippers win … The Clippers shook off a 15-for-50 shooting performance in the first half to complete the comeback … This was the first of three matchups against the Thunder this month … The Clippers’ 22-point comeback is tied for their largest home comeback in team history …