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Third Quarter Collapse Dooms Clippers as They Fall 128-110 to the Thunder

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A pathetic third quarter in which the Clippers got outscored 39-10 dooms the Clippers to 4-3 in a disappointing loss

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Key Stats:

Danilo Gallinari: 27 points, three rebounds, 10/10 FT

Lou Williams: 17 points, five rebounds, three assists

Tobias Harris: 15 points, six rebounds, 50% FG

Bench points: Clips 48, Thunder 32

Points off turnovers: Thunder 38, Clips 18

Game Summary:

What just happened?

Despite the Clippers cruising in the first half to a 67-54 lead, a third quarter in which the Clippers scored a season low 10 points spelled disaster for L.A. They went down by 20+ early in the fourth and never recovered. The final result was an 18 point loss that was equal parts shocking, frustrating and annoying.

The first quarter was all Clippers as Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris got in a good groove early. Gallo finished the period with 12 points, as he was making shots from everywhere and taking the ball to the rack. Avery Bradley started off the game strong with some quick buckets and shut down defense against Paul George. The Thunder fouled a lot early and sent Marcin Gortat to the line on three straight possessions where he went 5-of-6 early on. The Clipper defense was doing a good job of forcing the Thunder into contested shots and turnovers. Despite Russell Westbrook scoring in the paint at will against Patrick Beverley, the Clippers took an eight point lead into the second quarter after a buzzer beating three from Mike Scott.

The second quarter was more of the same as Gallo really took charge and scored 11 more points in the frame. The Thunder started to knock down some shots and even tied the game up after a 7-0 run to start the quarter. However, the Clippers went on a 9-0 run themselves to push the lead to double digits. The bench unit showed signs of cracking, however, as Milos, Lou, and SGA struggled against Alex Abrines, Hamidou Diallo, and Dennis Schroder and committed a flurry of turnovers. The starters were brought back in with a little over four minutes to play and pushed the lead back up securing a 13 points lead going into the final half. The Clippers were forcing the Thunder to foul them in the paint (OKC had 18 fouls in first half) and L.A. shot 67% in the quarter.

Then…well, let’s just pretend Will Smith hit us with the Neuralyzer (Men in Black reference: if you don’t get that, c’mon) and forget about the third quarter. To do a brief recap, the Clippers lost the frame by 29 points. They scored ten points. The offense had a flow that can only be compared to the worst rapper you can think of, and the defense was even worse. A truly pitiful performance with six turnovers in the frame (25 in the game) and no rhythm. I really have no idea what happened.

The fourth quarter was a slog as well, as the Clippers allowed the Thunder to score 35 points and look like a championship team despite this being only their second win of the season. Jerami Grant and Steven Adams torched the Clips, the transition defense was horrendous, and the Thunder shot 70% from the field in the second half. Paul George was making everything and Russ got his revenge against Beverley, at least for one game. This was a game that the Clippers should have won, and needed to win against a Western Conference team. Let’s hope they learn from this one and move on quickly as they have the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

Notes

Lou get’s 10,000th bench point: On a positive note, Lou eclipsed the 10,000th point mark in solely bench points. Sweet Lou is one of the best bench players of all time, and passing this benchmark is really cool.

Gallinari hot: Gallo was the only player with over 20 points for the Clips, but had 23 of his 27 in the first half. He shot 10/10 from the line and 7-of-15 from the field. However, he has to continue to be aggressive in both halves as he tends to be a first half player. Keep the foot down on the gas Rooster!

Turnovers a problem: I don’t care how good a team is, you will never win a game committing 25 turnovers. Most of these came in the second and third quarters as the bench couldn’t hold onto the ball and seemed bothered by George, Terrance Ferguson, and Nerlens Noel’s length. There were just a whole lot of batted balls and intercepted passes.