After 48,000 miles traveled, 14 back-to-backs, and more than 350 combined missed games due to injury, the Clippers reached the end of the season in better shape than many expected. Despite having the eighth seed already secured, the Clippers went on to achieve a 50-point win their final game of the 2021-22 season against the Thunder, 138-88.
From the start, the game looked like what you’d expect for the last game of the season between two drastically different teams. The starting lineup was filled with unfamiliar faces (at least on the Thunder’s side), and both teams started to turn the ball over after just a few possessions. However, the Clippers quickly caught fire from beyond the arc and ran out to a double digit lead. They hit seven three pointers in the first quarter, three of which were from Luke Kennard. They cooled off a bit in the second quarter, but managed to take advantage of mismatches and easy opportunities to put more points on the board. The Thunder, on the other hand, struggled on both ends of the floor. They shot only 42 percent from the field in the first half—10 percent lower than the Clippers—while also giving up 66 points. It’s not as if the Thunder just failed to hit shots, it’s that they ran into the Clippers’ stalwart defense. They kept the Thunder under 40 percent from beyond the arc, while also swatting six shots in that half.
The Clippers held a respectable 15 point lead at halftime, but that ballooned to 29 points just five minutes into the third quarter. Five players ended up finishing the quarter in double figures, and Ivica Zubac secured his double-double that quarter as well. Unfortunately, Kennard sat early due to right hamstring soreness, his night finished a quarter early with 20 points.
The night for the Clippers was nonetheless a good one—they beat the Thunder by 50, Amir Coffey posted a career high 35 points and 13 rebounds, and the team finished the season 42-40. While the Clippers have had a regular season full of ups and downs, the way they ended it gives nothing but optimism and confidence ahead of the play-in tournament and their matchup against the Timberwolves.