Oklahoma City Thunder final score: Clippers 'eject' Thunder, 111-103

Stephen Dunn

The Oklahoma City Thunder started a three-game road trip with a 111-103 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.

Box ScoreClips Nation Recap

The Oklahoma City Thunder suffered its first loss in nearly two weeks, 111-103 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

The Clippers jumped out to an early 8-0 lead, but fell behind 33-25 by the end of the first quarter. Everything seemed to point towards a sixth straight Thunder win in the first half, however, an altercation between Serge Ibaka, Blake Griffin and Matt Barnes at the end of the first half resulted in two ejections (Ibaka and Barnes) and a momentum shift for the Clippers.

The combination of an ejected Ibaka and stifling Clippers defense turned Oklahoma City's 62-53 lead into a 83-78 deficit heading into the fourth quarter. The Thunder were outscored 30-16 in the third period including 14 combined points from Griffin and JJ Redick.

The Thunder fought back in the fourth quarter, dropping the Clippers' lead to 106-101 late. However, Jamal Crawford knocked down a dagger-three with :34 seconds left and L.A. went on to win 111-103, claiming their fourth-straight at home.

What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?

The Thunder didn't seem ready for their first west coast-swing of the season.

They started the game with zero defensive intensity, letting the Clippers jump out to an 8-0 lead. They stood around on that side of the ball for most of the first half, watching Chris Paul, Griffin and Deandre Jordan destroy them with the pick-and-roll and alley-oop.

Then, after playing terrible defense for almost 24 minutes, Serge Ibaka gets ejected after tangling with Griffin and Matt Barnes.

So the Thunder, who started the game without Kendrick Perkins, lost their best defensive player before halftime. Not good.

The second half was much like the first. The Clippers out-worked the Thunder. On defense, rebounding, pick-and-roll, spacing. You name it, the Thunder got out-executed in it. Any yet, they still could have won.

Think about that. Everything went wrong, and they still could have won.

What was the overall reason the Thunder lost?

Three reasons.

1: Turnovers.

For three seasons the Thunder have fought the turnover-bug. It showed against the Clippers. The Thunder turned it over 22 times, including eight in the final 12 minutes. The Clippers turned 22 turnovers into 24 points, including 16 easy points in the final period.

2: Rebounds.

The Thunder don't get out-rebounded very often. They got out-rebounded 50-35 against the Clippers. L.A. does have an imposing front-line with Jordan and Griffin, however, when healthy, Oklahoma City's bigs should be able to improve in that area. And if Ibaka didn't get ejected, the rebound totals might be a little different.

3: Defense.

The Thunder got out-worked by Doc Rivers' Clippers, especially to start the game and in the second half. Oklahoma City played good defense for about eight minutes.

Scott Brooks has built this team around defense and the reason he is a great coach is because his players give everything they have on that side of the ball. So far this season, that hasn't been the case. Against the Clippers, the Thunder stood around. They also made mistakes defending the pick-and-roll and if you make mistakes there, Chris Paul will pick you apart.

What was the key statistic to understanding the game?

Rebound and turnovers.

The Clippers out-rebounded Oklahoma City 50-35. Also, the Thunder turned it over 22 times for 24 Clipper points. Easy to see why L.A. took the victory.

What does this game mean going forward?

It means the Thunder have to start games with more intensity. They can't allow teams that can score like the Clippers jump out to a good-sized lead and take the early momentum.

Also, it means the Thunder have some things to work on defensive. Namely, defending the pick-and-roll. It got ugly against Paul-Griffin-Jordan and if it doesn't get better, teams will be able to pick apart Scott Brooks' half court defense.



Trey's Awards

Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant (33 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds)

Thunder Down Under: Perry Jones III (5 points, 1 rebound, 1 block in 6 minutes)

Thunder Blunder: Hasheem Thabeet (-11 in 19 minutes)

Thunder Plunderer: Blake Griffin (22 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists)

***

Next game: at Golden State Warriors (Nov. 14th) @ 9:30 PM CDT.

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