The Oklahoma City Thunder looked to bounce back on Friday night, as they traveled to Los Angeles for a battle with the Clippers. The Thunder shot just 35% from the field, were outscored 37-15 in the fourth quarter, and came up short 108-92. Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris both scored 26 points for LAC.
Russell Westbrook remained inactive tonight despite optimism that he would make his season debut tonight. However, the shirt under Russ’s suit jacket was only inactive for the first half. The Thunder stayed with the same lineup with Paul George, Patrick Patterson, Steven Adams, Terrance Ferguson and Dennis Schroder.
The starting lineup failed to begin the game on a high note, struggling heavily offensively, and allowing Gallinari to get hot early. The Thunder would eventually fall into a 16-0 hole with Gallinari scoring 10 in the first four minutes. OKC went to their bench and the defensive intensity kicked up almost immediately. The bench unit brought the Thunder back into the game and the quarter ended with the Clippers ahead 27-20.
The Clippers brought the lead back up to double-digits as the 2nd quarter began. The Thunder slowly began chipping away at the lead, going on a 8-0 run, led by their bench unit. OKC tied the game on a three from Ferguson, they went back and forth for the remainder of the quarter. The Thunder trailed the Clippers 48-46 at halftime.
George had a tough night shooting the ball, but he started the third quarter looking to be aggressive on both ends. PG scored 13 points in the quarter, and helped the Thunder build a 9 point lead. However, each time the Thunder would pull away a little bit, the Clippers answered. Gallinari kept the Clippers afloat when the Thunder would make a run. OKC ended on a high note, with Nerlens Noel scoring the final five points. The Thunder led 77-71 at the end of the third.
OKC led 87-81 at the 9:00 mark in the fourth, but from that point on, the Thunder’s offense hit a wall they could not get past. After a George three tied the game back at 90, the Clippers answered with a 7-0 run, which was ended by the Big Kiwi’s slam over Boban. George’s 3 and Adams’ dunk were the only points scored for an eight minute stretch. The Thunder struggled to get anything in the paint, in part because of Boban’s presence. Then, George and Schroder both struggled mightily from the perimeter. Schroder missed a handful of open mid-range jumpers, eventually losing confidence. The Clippers ended the game on a 11-0 run and coasted to a victory.
The Thunder’s offensive numbers were very bad, to suggest that they struggled would be a bit of an understatement. They shot just 35% from the field, and only 21% from downtown. OKC did improve on free throw shooting, hitting 17 of 23. They won the rebound battle 52-47 and forced 15 Clipper turnovers.
Gallinari and Harris scored 26 points apiece on a combined 20-of-38 shooting. Lou Williams chipped in 17 off the bench.
George led the Thunder with 20 points, but shot just 7-of-27 from the field. He also pulled down 8 boards and dished 4 assists. Adams had a double-double with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Schroder scores 8 points (2-of-15 shooting) and dished 8 assists.