[Note by Steve Perrin, 11/21/13 10:48 PM PST ] The original version of this recap had some inaccurate scoring numbers based on an erroneous box score.
Somehow the Los Angeles Clippers managed to stay relatively close to the Thunder in Oklahoma City Thursday night, despite the fact that they never found any sort of rhythm. Chris Paul was outstanding for most of the game, and Blake Griffin had a monster third quarter for the second consecutive game. But no one else played particularly well, and a few guys were flat out bad. But somehow the Clippers still had the deficit within single digits in the fourth quarter, and if they had ever strung together a really good sequence of basketball, they could certainly have won this game.
The Clippers game was summed up by a couple of plays in the second quarter. After trailing by as many as 13, the Clippers cut the lead to six late in the quarter. One the next possession, they got a wide open corner three point shot for the guy the brought to town for the sole purpose of making threes. With a chance to cut the lead to three, J.J. Redick barely grazed the front of the rim with his attempt. A couple possessions later, the Clippers once again ran a good set to get Redick an absolutely unmolested look at a three -- and once again he barely grazed the front of the rim.
And so it went. DeAndre Jordan twice went for monster slams in the second quarter and twice game up short. In the third quarter, Paul mis-threw a lob pass to Griffin on a fast break, and instead of cutting the lead to five, the Thunder got a dunk the other way on the miss and the lead was back to nine. In the fourth, with the game still perhaps within reach, Redick yet again got yards of space to shoot a three, this time to cut the lead to eight -- and once again he missed.
Maybe it was fatigue on the second game of a back to back. Maybe it was just an off-night. The interior defense of the Thunder was good, and they contested well at the rim. But the Clippers had plenty of great looks from the perimeter and just didn't make them. The Clippers finished the game shooting just 41% from the field, and it gets worse really quick if you take out Griffin and Paul, who combined to shoot 19-34 from the field -- that leaves the rest of the Clippers at 19-58. Paul extended his record streak of double-doubles to 13 to open the season, and Griffinposted his sixth straight 20/10, finishing with 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Tonight is my basketball night. Maybe I'll flesh this recap out later. Maybe I won't. Maybe it would be better to just move on to the next game.