After three quarters, the Thunder were up by ten, and the general air seemed to be “Don’t get cocky, kids”; last time these two teams met, less than a week ago, the Thunder were up by seventeen after three quarters, and somehow lost by five. At the time, it seemed like they’d forgotten how to finish a game. Tonight, it looked like they’d learned something: halfway through the fourth, OKC had run that ten-point lead up to 19. This was about the point that the Clippers remembered that earlier in the game they were actually making three-point shots, and decided to go back to them. J. J. Redick promptly snapped off a pair of them, cutting the lead to 13; a minute later, he nailed one more. But the boys from L.A. would make no further progress, and at 2:25 Doc Rivers threw in the towel. The Thunder go up 2-1 in the season series, 120-108, a game in which they never trailed, but a game in which there were a whole lot of ties; the last tie was 75-75, in the middle of the third.
The usual Clipper offensive weapons were deployed competently, for the most part, but starting with that last tie, they started to miss shots, something they hadn’t done for most of the game. The most consistent shooter, in fact, was Jeff Green; Uncle Jeff knocked down 10-13 for a team-high 23. And while J. J. Redick (22 points) was 5-8 on treys, so was Kevin Durant (30 points/12 rebounds). One thing I always wonder about in Clippers/Thunder games is whether Russell Westbrook is consciously trying to show up Chris Paul. In this game, at any rate, CP3, good as he is, was seriously outclassed; Westbrook’s triple-double, 25-11-
2019, included a new career high for dimes. The Telltale Statistic, though, doesn’t show on the box score. Oklahoma City had 15 second-chance points. The Clips? Zip.
The Timberwolves will be here Friday night, after which everyone must clamber onto the plane and head for San Antonio. The Spurs haven’t lost at home all season, like another team whose name we won’t mention, lest we jinx the whole scheme.