Despite missing Blake Griffin and only getting one half from Chris Paul, the Clippers overpowered Russell Westbrook and the Thunder in their 120-98 victory in the Staples Center last night.
Paul left the game late in the second quarter and didn’t return with a sprained right thumb.
“I guess they said Westbrook came down on it,” Rivers said. “But whenever you see a guard pull their hand out, just from being a guard, you pretty much know it just happened.”
Despite missing Paul, the Clippers found a way to get under Westbrook and the team’s collective skin. Westbrook was quite frustrated and short in his postgame media availability, simply uttering “wasn’t ready to play” when asked about the Thunder’s play.
Yeah, that sounds just about right.
Westbrook finished the game with 24 points (on 7-19 shooting), five boards, five assists, and four turnovers. Only three other Thunder players scored in double-digits: Joffrey Lauvergne, Enes Kanter, and Domantas Sabonis scored 13, 12, and 10 points respectively. Victor Oladipo, the team’s second-leading scorer on the season, was held to just six points on 3-11 shooting in the contest.
“To me, in the game there’s a standard that we want to play to and I don’t think that we played to that standard on both ends of the floor,” coach Billy Donovan said. “Regardless of who is out and who is playing, you have a standard you want to play to and I just didn’t think we played to that standard tonight.”
DeAndre Jordan stepped up large in Griffin and Paul’s absence, scoring 19, grabbing 15 rebounds, and swatting away four shots. Mareese Speights poured in 23 points in 27 minutes off of the bench. J.J. Redick led the Clippers in scoring with 20, hitting 5 of 10 from deep.
The Clippers absolutely dominated the Thunder in the paint, outscoring them 62-34 inside.
“We’re just clicking, all of us,” Jordan said. ”It’s more defense. Our second unit has been amazing. We’re coming out with that mindset of playing hard for 48 minutes.”
The Thunder fall to 25-18, while the Clippers improve to 29-14–their 7th straight victory. The Thunder take on Kevin Durant and the Warriors next in Oakland.