Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) – It wasn’t pretty, but Chris Paul, Blake
Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers grinded out a 93-90 win over the short-
handed Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.
Paul missed a pair of free throws that could have made it a three-point game
with 13.8 seconds remaining, but he went to the ground to secure the rebound
on Sebastian Telfair’s miss at the other end and Griffin sank two from the
It was 91-88 with 5.8 seconds left when LA fouled Nick Collison intentionally
to prevent the Thunder from getting off a look from 3-point range. He hit two
as well, then J.J. Redick restored the three-point margin with his pair with
2.8 seconds to play.
Without any timeouts, Thunder center Steven Adams inbounded to Serge Ibaka
near mid-court. Ibaka took two dribbles and lined up a deep triple, which
missed short as the final buzzer sounded.
Griffin showed off an improved jumper on his way to 23 points and Paul tallied
22 with seven assists to edge out a Thunder unit that hardly resembled the
team that took the Spurs to six games in the Western Conference finals after
knocking the Clippers out of the playoffs a season ago.
Reigning league MVP Kevin Durant had foot surgery and will miss the early
portion of the season. The Thunder also traveled to Los Angles without guards
Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Anthony Morrow and rookie big man Mitch
Russell Westbrook joined the walking wounded after leaving in the second
quarter with a small fracture in his right hand.
Instead of Durant and Westbrook, who averaged a combined 53.8 points per game
last season, it was third-year forward Perry Jones totaling a career-high 32
points to keep things competitive. Ibaka added 17 points and Telfair scored 11
with seven helpers off the bench.