Five things to take from Clippers’ 119-117 loss at Oklahoma City

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.

Chris Paul ponders what Wednesday’s big win over OKC can do for Clippers

Chris Paul (3) of the Clippers tries to chase down OKC’s Serge Ibaka during the first half of the Clippers’ 103-98 come-from-behind victory on Wednesday at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill


The Clippers on Wednesday night were down by 17 points to Oklahoma City after three quarters, then came all the way back to defeat the Thunder 103-98 at Staples Center. It was arguably the Clippers’ most impressive victory of the season, under the circumstances. Keep in mind they were again without Blake Griffin, as well as Luc Mbah a Moute (left eyelid laceration).

Point guard Chris Paul afterward was asked if it was the type of win that could affect the team in a positive way moving forward.

“It could,” said Paul, who scored 21 points and had 13 assists. “We’ve got a few days between games for Atlanta. Atlanta’s a really good team, playing with a lot of fight right now. So, I mean, we’ll see. But for us, we know that we play OKC again in seven days, so we knew that we needed to show up.”

The Clippers (40-20) host Atlanta (33-28) on Saturday at 7:30 at Staples Center.
With 22 games left in the regular season, the fourth-place Clippers moved within 1 1/2 games of third-place Oklahoma City in the Western Conference standings with Wednesday’s victory. The teams play again next Wednesday at Oklahoma City and March 31 there as well.

Scott Brooks: Serge Ibaka has put in the work to improve perimeter shooting

Serge Ibaka made 9 of 10 from  the field and scored 20 points for Oklahoma City in the Thunder’s 118-112 victory Friday over the Clippers in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals series at Staples Center. Ibaka was often left wide open from 16 to 17 feet.

OKC coach Scott Brooks was asked prior to Sunday’s tip-off for Game 4 why Ibaka’s perimeter shooting has improved.

“I think he deserves the credit for putting a lot of work in,” Brooks said. “He works with our staff. Serge, as every player, you have to put the time in. You have to come back every day and do the work. You can’t be a sometimes workout guy. You can’t only work out even days of the week.”