Coming off a seven-game series against the Grizzlies' defensive torments, the Thunder came out of the gates with offensive fury, like an unchained dog. Unfortunately for them, their offense couldn't maintain the pace, and they must have forgot their defense in Memphis. Despite a combined 54 points from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder fell behind early and stayed behind late for a 122-105 victory against the Clippers who were led by Chris Paul's 32 points and 10 assists, and Blake Griffin's 23 points and five assists.
Los Angeles put up 39 points on the Thunder's normally active defense in the first quarter alone, with Chris Paul ripping the nets from deep and the rest of the Clippers contributing fairly evenly on offense. Oklahoma City wildly pushed the ball early, leading to some fun dunks and great buckets from Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Most importantly, the Clippers simply stretched the Thunder defense from end to end, hitting six of nine 3-pointers and finishing at the rim.
Their offensive attack continued to roll in the second quarter and when the Clippers' offense is clicking like it was in the first half, it's extremely difficult to stop them. It doesn't help when you have Derek Fisher guarding Jamal Crawford, whose crosses and spins put him into a blender. Chris Paul continued his blistering performance with perfect shooting from three, six assists and missing only one field goal at all. Blake Griffin's struggles were easily masked by the rest of their above average offensive lambasting of the Thunder. Oklahoma City's offense, meanwhile, had only hit two of nine treys in the half, and they got four points from their bench to Los Angeles' 17. The Thunder's 11 turnovers were a major blemish, too. Clippers went into halftime with a 17-point lead, 69-52.
Doc Rivers and his team kept the pedal to the floor, even with Durant and Westbrook putting up strong scoring efforts. Chris Paul broke down any pick-and-roll defense the Thunder threw at them, continuing his hot shooting streak en route to 30 points on 13 field goal attempts by the end of the third. Blake Griffin, who had trouble keeping his dribble and working in the post against Ibaka's strength and long arms, helped in other ways, throwing touch lobs to DeAndre Jordan. Speaking of Jordan, the Thunder went to the Hack-A-Jordan strategy in the middle of the third quarter, desperately trying to cut into a deficit that ballooned past 20 points.
Maybe Oklahoma City was just tired, but their defense put up too little effort defensively against the Clippers' offense. the fourth quarter was little more than a formality with the Clippers' 25-point lead (give or take) constantly out of reach from the Thunder's offensive attempts. Lawler's Law came and went before the fourth quarter even started. It would have taken a massive comeback from Oklahoma City, and tonight they were clearly incapable on either side of the floor.
Ultimately the game disappeared into the night, with the benches emptied and the game's conclusion assumed, Los Angeles finshed with a 17-point lead.