Chris Paul goes up for two of his 33 points with OKC’s Russell Westbrook guarding him/Photo by Alonzo Adams, Associated Press
– Point guard Chris Paul had a terrific game. He scored 33 points on 11 of 19 shooting – 5 of 8 from 3-point range. He also helped throw a blanket over OKC point guard Russell Westbrook, who has been phenomenal this season – especially of late. Since Feb. 2 he had produced six 40-plus point games and six triple-doubles. He was held to 24 points Wednesday on 5 of 14 shooting. He was just 2 of 8 from the field for seven points and seven of his 10 turnovers while Paul was guarding him. Paul has averaged 22 points and 13.4 assists in the past 14 games, all of which have been missed by Blake Griffin (elbow).
– J.J. Redick also came up with another fine performance. He scored 25 points with five rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Redick has averaged 22.6 points in five games this month while shooting a combined 48.3 percent from the field – 41 percent from beyond the arc.
– What the heck is going on with Spencer Hawes? He scored just four points on 1 of 7 shooting in 31 1/2 minutes of action. The 7-foot-1 big gathered only three rebounds. In his past five games he’s made just 11 of 40 field-goal attempts (27.5 percent) while averaging 5.8 points and just 3.6 rebounds. In one of those games, Monday’s victory over Minnesota, Hawes had one measly rebound in 23 minutes. Though a center by trade, Hawes has been starting at power forward for Griffin.
– Matt Barnes was feeling it in this one. The small forward out of UCLA burned the Thunder for 22 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Barnes made all of his field-goal attempts from 3-point range, going 6 of 7 from beyond the arc. Barnes also was solid on defense as he came through with three steals and two blocks.
– So the Thunder and coach Scott Brooks went to the hack-a-DJ ploy in this one and DeAndre Jordan responded by making 12 of 22 from the free-throw line. That is 54.5 percent. For someone shooting just 41 percent on the season, that is not too shabby. Beginning with 7:50 left in the game, Jordan made seven of his final 10 free-throw attempts. He had 17 points and 18 rebounds.
Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers on Wednesday night came through with an impressive 120-108 victory at Oklahoma City. Perhaps most outstanding was the game had by Chris Paul. He scored a game-high 33 points on 11 of 19 shooting – 5 of 8 from 3-point range – and also doled out nine assists with two steals and five turnovers. Two days earlier in a victory over Minnesota on Monday, Paul had 15 assists but just two points and was noticeably hobbled by a right knee bruise.
The Clippers are now 9-5 without Blake Griffin (elbow). Jamal Crawford (calf) missed his fourth consecutive game. The Thunder were without reigning MVP Kevin Durant (foot).
Paul was not alone in his heroics. J.J. Redick scored 25 points and Matt Barnes had 22. DeAndre Jordan scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and survived more hack-a-DJ by making 12 of 22 from the free-throw line. Glen “Big Baby” Davis contributed 12 points, three rebounds and two steals off the bench.
The Clippers (42-23) shot 46.1 percent overall, 50 percent (15 of 30) from 3-point range.
OKC (35-29) fell out of the top eight in the Western Conference and is now ninth, a half-game behind New Orleans (36-29). The Clippers are fifth.
Anthony Morrow led the Thunder with 26 points off the bench. Russell Westbrook scored 24 points, but he shot just 5 of 14 from the field. He had seven assists and nine rebounds, but 10 turnovers.
Next up is Dallas (41-25) on Friday. The Mavericks are seventh in the West.
Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers went on a scoring rampage in the first half Wednesday night at Oklahoma City and by the time intermission rolled around, they held a 65-57 lead over the host Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Chris Paul – sore right knee and all – scored 20 points in the half on 8 of 12 shooting – 4 of 6 from 3-point range. J.J. Redick had 16 points on 4 of 7 from the field – 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.
The Clippers (41-23) shot 50 percent overall, 50 percent (8 of 16) from 3-point range. They also made 17 of 18 from the free-throw line in the first 24 minutes of action. Believe it or not, DeAndre Jordan made 5 of 6 from the line. He had nine points and 11 rebounds.
Anthony Morrow led OKC (35-28) with 17 points off the bench in the half. Russell Westbrook, who is averaging 40.7 points this month, had 12 points, four assists and seven rebounds.
Chris Paul, left, of the Los Angeles Clippers, talks to Russell Westbrook, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, during the first half of the NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
While Russell Westbrook took home the MVP and nearly set a scoring record for the NBA All-Star Game with 41 points on 28 shots, the Clippers’ Chris Paul led the game with 15 assists. Paul is the all-time leader in assists per All-Star game (12.5). Magic Johnson has the top two single game assist totals, with 22 in 1984 and 19 in 1988.
In case you want to see what 163-158 looks like on paper, here’s the 2015 All-Star Game box score.
Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
– First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that the Clippers were without Blake Griffin, who has a staph infection in his right elbow and will have surgery Monday to get rid of it. He’s out until sometime after the All-Star break, the team said, and he has been replaced on the
Western Conference All-Star squad by Portland guard Damian Lillard. Staph infections are no laughing matter and can get serious.
– The losing streak has now reached four. The Clippers had not even lost three in a row under Doc Rivers since Rivers took over at the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign.
– Being that the Clippers (33-19) were such a depleted squad with Griffin out and starting shooting guard J.J. Redick missing his third consecutive game with back spasms – not to mention reserve forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis going down hard and playing just six minutes because of back spasms – it’s no surprise the Clippers did not play well on defense. The Thunder (26-25) shot 52.3 percent from the field, 40 percent (8 of 20) from 3-point range. OKC’s percentage would have been considerably higher had Russell Westbrook (19 points) not brought it down with a 6-for-19 shooting performance; Serge Ibaka made just 3 of 11, for that matter.
– Lost in the one-sided defeat no doubt will be the game had by point guard Chris Paul. He scored 18 points on 7 of 13 shooting with 13 assists, six rebounds, three steals and just one turnover in 36 minutes. The only negative was an 0-for-4 shooting day from 3-point range.
– Another good thing was the game had by Spencer Hawes, who started for Griffin. A starter much of his career before coming off the bench here in his first season for the Clippers, Hawes has struggled as a reserve. He scored 17 points. They were all in the first half, though. Still, he made 7 of 16 from the field, 2 of 5 from 3-point range. But he only had one rebound and that’s not going to cut if assuming he starts for Griffin until Griffin comes back. That’s one rebound in 35 minutes for a 7-foot player. The Clippers were outrebounded 54-29.
DeAndre Jordan had a big block down the stretch Thursday/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
– This may have been just the first game of the 2014-15 season, but the idea that the Clippers had difficulty putting away OKC when the Thunder were missing reigning MVP Kevin Durant and guard Reggie Jackson, is kind of scary going forward; that’s not to mention that guard Russell Westbrook played only eight minutes because he fractured a finger in the second quarter.
– The Clippers had a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and nearly lost it when the Thunder’s Sebastian Telfair hit a 3-pointer to pull OKC within 89-88. Again, that this would happen when the Clippers are basically at full strength and the Thunder were at about two-thirds of that, is head-shaking.
– One of the things the Clippers were so poor at during the preseason – rebounding – was again at work in this one. The Thunder outrebounded the Clippers 47-33.
– The Clippers shot 72 percent (18 of 25) from the free-throw line. That’s not terrific. But Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick were 4-for-4 in the waning moments, and the Clippers will need that kind of clutch free-throw shooting all season because they figure to be in a lot of close games with the league’s better teams.
– The Clippers also were clutch down the stretch defensively. DeAndre Jordan blocked Telfair’s driving shot attempt with under 10 seconds to play. Not long before that, Jamal Crawford stole the ball away from the Thunder, preventing them a chance to take the lead just seconds after Telfair hit that 3-pointer to get his team within a point.