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Clippers vs. Thunder Recap: Clippers get their first win

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The Clippers started and finished strong enough to overcome a lackluster middle, earning their first win of the season.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Result: Clippers take a 108-92 win at home

Key Stats:

  • Tobias Harris finished with 26 points on 10-22 shooting, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists;
  • Danilo Gallinari scored 26 points without playing in the fourth quarter (62.5% from the field);
  • The Clippers as a team had 21 assists on 35 made shots, shot 42.3% from three, and kept the Thunder to 35.8% shooting from the field.

First Half:

The Clippers started the game extremely well. In the first two minutes, the Clippers were already up 9-0 over the Thunder, and kept the momentum going, parlaying Gallinari’s hot start (10 points in the 1st quarter) into a 24-9 lead with about 4 minutes left in the opening period. Beverley, however, continued his shooting struggles and committed two early fouls.

Along with Gallinari’s 10 points in the first frame, Harris pitched in 9 points and two assists. This dynamic — the two wing players providing the bulk of the scoring while the backcourt struggles — will be something the Clippers will have to manage. Although Gallinari and Harris are supposed to be the Clippers’ primary scorers, the starting backcourt has to at least be a threat.

By the end of the second quarter, the hard work the Clippers put in to go up early had basically been wasted. Although the Clippers finished the half with a small (2 point) lead, they had let the Thunder even it up at 35 in the middle of the second. The Thunder’s defense tightened up, Adams and Felton started to score, and the Thunder dominated the boards. Neither team shot very well after the Clippers’ nice start, with both teams well under 50% from the field throughout the game.

Second Half:

Throughout the third quarter, the Thunder were in complete control. The Clippers’ ball movement stopped and Paul George started to get going (started the half with 6 points and ended with 17). Harrell also struggled during this stretch (during the whole game, really), with four fouls and two turnovers in just the 3rd quarter alone. All together, the Clippers were outscored by seven in the third quarter and down five for the game. Gallo, again, was the only bright spot of this stretch.

The fourth quarter, for the Clippers, luckily, was much more like the first — explosive. The Clippers more than doubled the Thunders’ scoring in the fourth (37-15):

Tobias Harris himself almost matched the Thunder’s 15 point quarter with 14 of his own (on 6/10 shooting). Once the Clippers took back the lead by way of a Lou Williams three-pointer at the 6:29 mark of the quarter, it was all Clippers. Lou, Harris, and Marjanovic moved the ball extremely well on offense and the Clippers rebounded well after misses on the other end. Shai made plays for others and helped out defensively, while Luc Mbah a Moute shut down Paul George (he finished 7-27 shooting). They were playing so well, in fact, that Gallinari didn’t even get any playing time in the final quarter — he wasn’t needed. In the end, Harris finished with 26 points and the Clippers got their first win of the season.