Jamal Crawford, center, of the Clippers shoots a 3-pointer during the Clippers’ 119-117 loss Thursday at Oklahoma City/AP photo by Alonzo Adams
– The Clippers rested starters Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan and still nearly pulled off what would have been quite an upset had they emerged victorious at Chesapeake Energy Arena. That, alone, is impressive.
– The Clippers were close due in large part to the play of Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers. They started at the guard spots for Redick and Paul and came through with 32 points apiece. Crawford also had seven assists and two steals. Rivers also had four rebounds, five assists and two steals. Crawford played 39 minutes and 57 seconds, Rivers played 39 minutes and 13 seconds. Rivers shot 7 of 9 from 3-point range.
– One has to wonder how the Clippers could get outrebounded 46-26 and still have a shot at winning the game. Well, it helps when you shoot extremely well. The Clippers shot 55.3 percent overall. More importantly, they went 16 of 29 from 3-point range, a tremendous 55.2 percent. By contrast, OKC shot just 31.2 percent (10 of 32) from beyond the arc.
– While the Clippers (47-28) were resting their stars, the Thunder (53-23) did not. Starters Kevin Durant (31 points), Russell Westrbrook (26) and Serge Ibaka (16) combined for 73 points. And the Clippers still almost beat them.
– By the time Thursday night was over, there was one very interesting item noted in the playoff standings. That would be sixth-place Portland now being just 1 1/2 games behind fifth-place Memphis in the Western Conference standings. If the Trail Blazers pass the Grizzlies, they will play the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, which begin in about 2 1/2 weeks. Portland (40-36) has six games left in the regular season, Memphis (41-34) has seven.