Three key players in the LA Clippers’ win over Oklahoma City Thunder

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Los Angeles Clippers Guard Paul George (13) reacts after hitting the game winning shot during a NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers on November 18, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Los Angeles Clippers Guard Paul George (13) reacts after hitting the game winning shot during a NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers on November 18, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers eked out a 90-88 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night, and while it was a team effort, three players made key contributions.

Monday night’s game between the LA Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder wasn’t just “any other game” on the schedule. It was the reunion game of them all. At times, it felt like every player was linked in one way or another.

There was the big one: Paul George was facing off with the team that traded him to Los Angeles this summer, and the beloved Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari were back at STAPLES for the first time since April 26.

Other moments had some history behind them too, though. Montrezl Harrell found himself backing down Chris Paul at one point. Lou Williams was on the floor for several possessions with him as well. Patrick Beverley was on him to start the game. All of those guys were involved in the deal that sent CP3 to Houston a few years back.

Although it was just a regular-season game, the stakes were high. George wanted to perform well, and Gilgeous-Alexander and Gallinari likely had this game circled since the schedule first released.

Hardly any of them probably anticipated the game being as ugly as it was.

Both offenses looked off almost all night long, combining to shoot 17-of-63 from three-point range, or 26.9 percent. Turnovers were frequent as well — there were 34 of them — and at times, they strung several possessions together.

Ultimately, though, it was the Clippers that came out on top, and largely due to the efforts of these three players:

Paul George

Paul George finally returned to Earth last night after going berserk in his first two games as a member of the LA Clippers. He scored 33 and 37 points in those games, respectively, compared to 18 against his former team Monday night.

That said, none of George’s previous points were as important as the ones he earned late in the fourth quarter of last night’s game.

Down 88-86, the Clippers ran a perfectly executed ATO play (after time out) for George that resulted in him getting as good a look from three-point range as you can hope for in a tight game. Unsurprisingly, George sank it, and LA went up by one with roughly 25 seconds left on the clock.

Per ESPN Stats and Info, it was the fourth time that George had connected on a go-ahead three-pointer in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime since the start of the 2018-2019 season — twice as many as any other player in the league over that same amount of time.

Following his clutch bucket, the Thunder got two shots on goal in the 12 seconds of the game but could not connect. George grabbed the final rebound and was fouled, sending him to the line with less than a second remaining. Sinking the first and missing the second, George ended the game by scoring the final four points.

Ironically, the two players that missed shots in the final seconds for the Thunder were Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari — whom LA dealt for George.

To go along with his 18 points, George also recorded seven rebounds and four assists in a season-high 29 minutes. He and Patrick Beverley each made a team-high three shots from beyond the arc as well.

Assuming Kawhi Leonard is ready to go Wednesday night, we won’t see George do his solo act again for a little while.

Montrezl Harrell

Paul George may have been the one that guaranteed the win, but he wouldn’t have been in a position to do so had it not been for the incredible effort that Montrezl Harrell put forth.

Trezz had his best game of the young season against Oklahoma City, going for 28 points, 12 rebounds (eight of which were offensive) and five assists plus a block and a steal in 27 minutes of action. Per the LA Clippers, Harrell became the seventh player in franchise history to have such a line, and he did so in the fewest minutes played.

Factoring in his assists, Harrell was responsible for more than a third of the Clippers’ points against the Thunder.

Harrell has picked up right where he left off with LA and has been as efficient as ever this season. He’s scored at least 10 points in all but one of the team’s 14 games so far, and he’s shooting an absurd 60.1 percent from the floor — the 11th-best mark in the NBA.

His energy and effort have been crucial so far, and that likely won’t change any time soon.

Ivica Zubac

It’s in your best interest to hop on the Ivica Zubac hype train before it’s too late — and it’s leaving the station soon. The 22-year-old big has been fantastic this season, and he put together another solid line against Steven Adams and the Thunder Monday night.

In just 20 minutes, Zubac posted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds (four offensive) and dished out an assist as well.

It was Zu’s third double-double of the season, nearly half of the number he posted all last season and one less than he had during his stint with the Clippers in the second half.

Advanced statistics always have Zu among LA’s best players, and the eye test has supported that this season. He looks like a far improved player under the basket, showing plenty of patience with the ball and fighting for position with more experienced centers. He’s been great defensively as well — Adams scored just two of his 10 points on Zu last night, and he’s as physical as they come in the NBA.

Zu still has some growing to do before he should truly be considered an above-average big in the league, but for now, he’s looked the part of a starting-caliber center and has yet to have an underwhelming performance.

Next. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's top moments with the LA Clippers. dark

The LA Clippers will return to action Wednesday night when they take on the red-hot Boston Celtics, who currently have the best record in the NBA. Look for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to finally play their first game together.