On Thursday night, the LA Clippers had their winning streak snapped by the Oklahoma City Thunder. An impressive run of nine wins in a row was ended by the young and talented OKC squad.
After Kawhi Leonard was ruled out for LA pregame due to a bruised hip, it became an uphill battle for the Clippers. They were already playing on the second night of a road back-to-back, with it also being their third game in four nights.
The result was a game of runs that saw the Clippers go down early but battle back to take an improbable lead in the third quarter. In the end, the Thunder's 45-point explosion in the third frame served to put LA out of reach and they fell, 134-115.
But despite dropping their first contest in three weeks, the Clippers continued to show why they are a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference.
The Clippers have proved they are a contender
After delivering countless times down the stretch for LA on Wednesday against the Mavericks, Kawhi Leonard missed his first game this season against Oklahoma City. Many teams would have had no chance of winning without their best player, but the Clippers pulled together a solid fight.
James Harden poured in a team-high 23 points and Paul George added 22, including a three-pointer with nine minutes left in the third to give LA a one-point lead. The stars and even the role players crafted a strong effort to give the Clippers a chance against the upstart Thunder. Amir Coffey added nine points in 33 minutes while stepping into a starting role.
This team can not be properly judged without its best player in Leonard. But even in his absence, LA battled hard against one of the best teams in the association. Their loss while shorthanded does not negate the previous three weeks of success and consistency.
The Clippers' win streak was going to come to an end eventually, and Thursday night's loss was hardly any reason to doubt this team going forward.