Thunder vs. Clippers 3/3/13: Video Highlights and Recap
You would be hard-pressed to find a basketball game any crazier than the matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
With the Western Conference wide open—and these two teams divided by half a game—both of them came ready to play, though it didn't seem that way after the first half.
Heading into halftime, the Thunder held a dominating 54-41 lead. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook looked unstoppable, while Chris Paul had just four points.
Fouls played a problem early on, as Blake Griffin had two and Lamar Odom had three before the end of the first quarter.
Los Angeles spent the first half underestimating OKC in every way on defense. Not only was Paul shut down, but the Clippers also turned the ball over 16 times. The Thunder had nine first-half steals.
Once the third quarter began it was no holds barred, as the Clippers forced themselves right back into the game.
Despite a 19-point deficit early in the second half, the Thunder's lead was whittled down to 82-73 after the third quarter, as Paul and Jamal Crawford came alive for Los Angeles.
With 1:31 left in the fourth quarter, Crawford sank a three-pointer to put the Clippers up 100-99. The Staples Center crowd exploded with the sudden momentum change, forcing the Thunder to call a timeout.
That break was all OKC needed to get its head straight.
Russell Westbrook came back with a quick layup to tie the game, which was followed by a loose ball foul on Blake Griffin and a Serge Ibaka three-point play.
With 30.0 seconds left in the game, Westbrook made a jump shot to give the Thunder a four-point lead, putting the final nail in the coffin. The final score was 107-104, an Oklahoma City win.
This game was filled with physical play, and it set the tone in the second half.
Ibaka and Griffin played aggressively against each other, with Griffin eventually fouling out in the fourth. But Ibaka lucked out when a flagrant cheap shot went unseen by the refs—it could have resulted in him being tossed.
The word "chippy" almost sounds too tame for how physical these two teams were playing.
With their first win of March in the books, the Thunder extend their divisional lead to 5.5 games while pulling within 2.5 of the Spurs for the Western Conference lead.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder in points (35) and rebounds (nine), while Westbrook led the team in assists and posted a double-double (29 points, 10 assists).
Despite a horrid first half, Chris Paul's big second half saw him lead the Clippers with 26 points and eight assists. He was a perfect 9-of-9 from the foul line.
Griffin was one rebound away from a double-double (20 points, nine rebounds) and tied with Durant for the game's rebounding lead.
All in all, the Thunder won the box score. They outpaced the Clippers in every star category except for rebounds, where Los Angeles finished with a 41-38 lead.
The most telling two stats of the game: OKC's 13 turnovers to L.A.'s 20.
Player of the game: Kevin Durant
Like the rest of the Thunder, Durant seemed to lose some of his momentum after the Clippers made the adjustment to go zone in the second half.
Still, he led the way for OKC all game long, finishing his day shooting 40 percent from the field in addition to his impressive points and assists totals.
Just as he always does, Durant managed to draw plenty of fouls and finished the game 12-of-15 from the line.
The biggest knock you could make against him is that he led the Thunder with four turnovers. But it's a minor flaw on an otherwise stellar performance.
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