The Clippers punched above their weight in the playoffs last season reaching the Western Finals. This was due to the form Paul George and a host of good to brilliant supporting cast which included Reggie Jackson and Zubac. Clippers fans will be looking for more of the same this season to show that they are no longer the distance cousin of the two LA team. So far this regular season they are not showing that, they were 1-4 going into this one. Oklahoma City prop up the Western Conference along with the Pelicans and Rockets but that doesn’t tell the whole picture. There have been some good individual displays such as from Josh Giddey(who had 15 points here) and Shai Alexander who had 28 in this one.The Thunder were roaring in the first quarter, check out this play at 17-8 Thunder. They were bright at the paint in the context of the match. Shai was determined to get the basket if one Clipper tried to get the ball that would be a foul no question. Clippers were not to bad on the paint as well, watch the rebound king Isaiah Hartenstein, a huge guy dominate the ball get the offensive rebound at 19-8. There is clear lack of height in the Thunder team ,well exploited with a great game plan to get Isaiah involved in the forward play often.
This was not a great scoring game but it was close enough to keep me intrigued. The two teams really were awful shooters. Field goal percentage was lousy at just 38% for both teams. Even the three point percentage wasn’t spared from the stink. Thunder with a pathetic 11/37 from down town with Clippers better(I say it very relatively) at 15/42. Clippers chipped away at the Thunder lead led by George and Mann in that second quarter. Too bad they didn’t have more plays like this one at 41-33. George realizing they needed more points on board from 3s passing to Jackson who sinks a rare one from down town. Team who loses the ball too often is the team that more or less loses the ball game. Thunder failing to take advantage of the turnovers.
Check out 83-77. Giddey WINNING THE BALL, he drives to the basket, has 3 defensives for company. What does he do? He goes for glory in an impossible situation where a pass to Muscala would have been the better option. The truth? Clippers won it in the last 2 minutes of play with Oklahoma City looking spent. Paul George and team woke up and started hitting the 3s, check out 91-82 and 91-85 and 91-88 Kennard join the act. Good but narrow victory for the Clippers who improve to 2-4 and have it all to do to make post season. Thunder now prop the standings on their own and need to work on their stamina(fitness) to finish the match as strongly as they start.