Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Postgame Grades and Analysis

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 23: Jamal Crawford #11 of the Los Angeles Clippers drives during a game at Chesapeake Energy Arena on February 23, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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NBA Sunday Showcase certainly earned its nickname during the matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Both teams showed why they have legitimate title hopes, as the Clippers went on to win, 125-117.

L.A.'s starters scored 116 of the team's 125 points, as each of the five reached at least 18 points. Jamal Crawford led the way with 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting. Chris Paul had a double-double with 18 points and 12 assists.

For the Thunder, Kevin Durant scored 42 points and dished out 10 assists, but he couldn't carry OKC all the way to victory by himself.

Serge Ibaka scored 20, but the Thunder couldn't find consistent offense after those two.



Key Player Grades

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 23: Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers and Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers react during a game at Chesapeake Energy Arena on February 23, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackno
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Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers, Power Forward

Griffin struggled to make a huge impact against Ibaka and Nick Collison, who played stellar defense from beginning to end.

Several times, Griffin caught the ball in the paint and began trying to back down his defenders, but the interior defense of the Thunder refused to give up any ground.

In true star fashion, though, Griffin contributed in other ways. One of his most underrated skills—passing—was on display as he dished out six assists.

He finished the game with 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting and seven rebounds.

Grade: C+


Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers, Point Guard

No one in the league runs an offense quite like CP3. The Clippers always seem to play at the exact pace Paul wants, and they did so here.

He was in control of pretty much every possession when he needed to be, but he deferred to Jamal Crawford while he was hot in the second quarter.

He finished the game with 18 points and 12 assists.

Grade: A


Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers, Shooting Guard

Crawford found himself in some kind of zone during the second quarter of this game. He dropped 15 points in that frame and helped the Clippers to a halftime lead.

He was steady outside of that quarter as well, as he ended up shooting 13-of-20 from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point range on the way to 36 points.

He showed some clutch too, as he hit a huge three (that should've been another four-point play opportunity) to put L.A. up four with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter. About 30 seconds later, he hit a pull-up two in response to a Durant bucket to keep the lead at four.

Grade: A+


DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers, Center

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 23: DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Los Angeles Clippers dunks the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder during an NBA game on February 23, 2014 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

As Griffin struggled offensively, Jordan stepped up and had a monster game on both ends of the floor.

There aren't may players in the NBA who play at a higher elevation than Jordan, which is a big part of why he hit 6-of-6 from the field for 18 points and grabbed 11 defensive rebounds (12 overall).

Grade: A


Matt Barnes, Los Angeles Clippers, Small Forward

Moving Barnes into the starting lineup was probably long overdue for the Clippers. He showed why by hitting 6-of-10 from three-point range and 8-of-14 overall on the way to 24 points.

He was also tasked with guarding Durant for most of the night. And though he didn't stop him, the energy he expended was commendable.

Grade: B+


Darren Collison, Los Angeles Clippers, Point Guard

Collison played the most minutes off the bench for the Clippers, but he didn't really swing the game either way.

He finished with seven points on 3-of-8 shooting. 

Grade: C


Bench, Los Angeles Clippers

It was all about the starters for L.A., as the bench scored a total of nine points on 4-of-14 shooting. 

Grade: D


Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, Small Forward

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 23: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Serge Ibaka #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder react during a game at Chesapeake Energy Arena on February 23, 2014 in Oklah
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

You can't really put any part of this loss on Durant, who absolutely blew up offensively. 

Against a respectable defensive effort from Matt Barnes, Durant scored from all over the floor on the way to his 42 points on 15-of-30 shooting.

And as Russell Westbrook is struggling to get back up to speed following injuries, Durant carried the load as playmaker as well. He dished out 10 assists.

Grade: A+


Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, Point Guard

Westbrook struggled mightily from the field, shooting just 3-of-13 from there. But there were some good signs for him physically.

He didn't look terribly encumbered by his knees at any point in the game, and he didn't look gassed at any point either.

Five rebounds and six assists is always good to get from the point guard position. Once he gets his legs back under him, the scoring should come.

Grade: C+


Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder, Center

Feb 23, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) congratulates Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) after a made shot against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy
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Ibaka did an excellent job against Griffin on both ends of the floor.

He kept L.A.'s leading scorer off the glass and from getting many easy looks.

Offensively, Ibaka was steady throughout. He finished with 20 points on 10-of-16 shooting. 

Grade: A


Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City Thunder, Shooting Guard

Sefolosha started the game hot, scoring eight of his 10 points in the first few minutes, but he didn't do much after that.

He also struggled defensively, which is supposed to be his specialty. L.A.'s starting wings combined for 60 points on 21-of-34 shooting.

Grade: C-


Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder, Center

Adams provided darn-near nothing on offense, scoring just one point and missing his sole field-goal attempt.

But he doesn't play to score.

The real bad sign was how bad he was dominated by Jordan on the boards and around the rim. It's tough to fault him, because Jordan is the league's leading rebounder. But I'm sure OKC was still looking for more of an impact.

Grade: C-


Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder, Point Guard

With Westbrook still recovering from injuries, the Thunder leaned heavily on combo guard Reggie Jackson.

Unfortunately, he provided less in 34 minutes than Westbrook did in 25.

He finished with seven points on 3-of-12 shooting and dished out four assists.

Grade: D


Bench, Oklahoma City Thunder

Veterans Derek Fisher and Nick Collison were both excellent off the bench for OKC.

Collison provided excellent defense inside on Griffin during his 20 minutes. Fisher brought it on the other end, hitting 5-of-7 three-point attempts for 15 points.

Grade: B+


What's Next?

The Clippers will continue their road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET.

Griffin will be up against another stellar defender in Anthony Davis.

As for the Thunder, they should have a great shot at ending their current two-game losing streak against Cleveland Cavaliers at home.


Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.