Clippers-Thunder Recap: A win … is a win


93. 77. 90. 149. Final

Don’t question it. Don’t think much into it. Just be happy with the end result, a win.

It wasn’t pretty. Up against the Kevin Durant-less, Jeremy Lamb-less, Reggie Jackson-less, Anthony Morrow-less, Russell Westbrook-less (he played a total of eight minutes before suffering a small fracture in his right hand) Thunder, many predicted a blowout of epic proportions. Well, the opposite happened and from start to finish, the Clippers had to fight for the season opener.

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  • In the opening quarter, the Thunder started on fire, shooting 55 percent from the field. No Kevin Durant? It didn’t seem like an issue then, especially with Serge Ibaka and Perry Jones III scoring a combined 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Without Durant, it’s easy to argue this team is playing with nothing to lose, creating an us against the world mantra, that looking to be what drove the team in the first quarter.

    Meanwhile on the opposite side, the Clippers offense sputtered out the gates, looking a lot like it’s preseason self. Fortunately of the Clippers, the Thunder lacked enough offense to push a huge lead, so the Clippers were able to stay close.

    In the second quarter, the game lost buzz when Russell Westbrook went down with injury (he didn’t return), though things remained interesting from that point on.

    There were a mixture of things that looked off with the Clippers from that point until the finish. The small forward position, at least offensively speaking, basically makes the Clippers play 4-on-5 on offense (see below for more detail). Jamal Crawford and Spencer Hawes failed to provide that offensive bludgeoning we saw in the preseason. The rebound issues continued, and despite all of that, but they prevailed thanks to the efforts of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, even if Perry Jones III and his career-high 32 point performance tried hard to make the final result different.

    Despite coming off a 50-plus win season, the Clippers team has a long way to go. Will they shoot 23 percent from three for the rest of the season? Will the small forwards play poorly every game? Will Crawford and Hawes shoot poorly through the season? Most likely no, but something’s missing from this team, whether it’s chemistry or getting into shape, or some other issues we’re unfamiliar with.

    Maybe they’ll find it against the Lakers tomorrow. That’s the new trend in the NBA as of now.

    Man of the Match

    Outside of two ill-timed missed free throws, the Clippers best player tonight was Chris Paul. Without Russell Westbrook on the floor to match up with the point guard, seeing Paul do what he’s done on a nightly basis for the last 7 years wasn’t as fun, but with 22 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals, Paul orchestrated a so-so offense to victory.


    Matt Barnes: 7 points (all 7 came in the first quarter), 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal
    Chris Douglas-Roberts: 12:26 minutes, 2 points (0-for-4 from the field), 3 rebounds, 1 assist
    Reggie Bullock: DNP-Coach’s Decision

    *After the opening quarter, Barnes and Douglas-Roberts scored a combined 2 points, those two belonging to Douglas-Roberts. That’s …… not good.

    Images of the Match

    Good job good effort on that foul Steven Adams.

    The Steve Ballmer era is gonna be a goooooood one.


    Other Thoughts

    • Can’t think of a player who’s so fun to watch, yet so frustrating simultaneously like Jamal Crawford is.
    • Around the three minute mark, the Thunder attempted to “hack-A-Jordan” and Rivers immediately pulled him for Spencer Hawes. Only up 7 when it occurred, this could be a trend to look out for as the season progresses — it should be noted that Rivers lacked a viable alternative in these situations last season.
    • The small forward issue is an issue, but more-so on defense than offense. When Perry Jones scores 30 points, you know there’s a problem … and I’m quite the fan of Jones, but … nah.
    • The three-guard lineup was alive and well in the fourth quarter (Paul-Medick-Crawford) — Rivers goes offense/defense, sending in Matt Barnes during times of need.
    • Hate to hear about Russell Westbrook’s hand injury. All of the good fortune received by the Thunder since Durant arrived is doing a giant 180 degree turn as of now.

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