Rapid Reaction: Clippers 111, Thunder 103
November, 13, 2013
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers did a lot of things last season. They won 17 straight games, won 56 games and won the division. But one thing they did not do was beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. They lost all three times they played the Thunder.
This season, they beat them in their first meeting, defeating the Thunder 111-103 on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
It was a signature win for a team still searching for an identity and trying to get over the hurdle of defeating teams like the Thunder and San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference.
How it happened: Matt Barnes shoved Serge Ibaka, causing both players to be ejected when Ibaka and Blake Griffin got tangled up on a play with six seconds left before halftime. That ended up being the turning point in the game as the Clippers outscored the Thunder 30-16 in the third quarter and never looked back.
What it means: The Clippers finally beat the Thunder after losing all three meetings last season and stayed perfect at home, winning their third straight game and fourth straight at home.
Hits: Six Clippers scored in double figures as they spread the wealth throughout the game. Griffin finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three steals, and Chris Paul had 14 points and 16 assists.
Misses: Give Barnes credit for standing up for his teammates and causing Ibaka, who was 6-for-6, to get ejected, but you have to knock him for going 0-for-5 before his ejection and also tweeting during the third quarter: "I love my teammates like family, but I'm DONE standing up for these n---as! All this s--- does is cost me money. ..." The tweet was later deleted.
Stat of the game: Paul became the first player in Clippers history to have at least 10 points and 10 assists in each of his first nine games of the season. The last NBA player to do this was Magic Johnson during the 1990-91 season, when he did it in the first 11 games.
Up next: The Clippers play the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday at Staples Center in the first of two hyped games between Doc Rivers and his old Boston Celtics players Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Rivers would love to have seen Garnett and Pierce join him in Los Angeles but when subsequent deals between the Celtics and Clippers were blocked by the league, Garnett and Pierce ended up in Brooklyn. This is the first time all three will be on the court together since last season.