Clippers snuffed by Thunder, 129-107

© Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
The Thunder claimed the season series with Los Angeles.

Clippers stars James Harden, Paul George, Russell Westbrook visited their former club, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Friday where they received a warm welcome from fans. 

As for the Thunder, they had different plans. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City to a commanding win over fellow Western Conference contender, the Clippers. Gilgeous-Alexander, who serves as the second leading scorer in the league, scored 31 points at the Paycom Center. 

It was the first game for both teams coming out of the All-Star break. Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue saw ways in which that break exposed his team’s progress.

“We had a lot of possessions and plays where we got in (the paint) and we didn’t make the right play, so they were able to get blocked shots and turnovers,” Lue said. “For the most part, I thought we did a good job. I thought we executed the game plan offensively. Defensively, we could have been a lot better.”

Turning point: The Clippers trailed by just two points at halftime, but the true turning point would follow right after.

Oklahoma City dished a 20-5 run in the third quarter to make what was once a two-point game a 17-point lead. In that same period LA made just 30% of its shots while the Thunder made 70%.
Oklahoma City went on to outscore the Clippers 33-25 in the fourth to seal the game.

What it means: The Thunder walk away with the 2-1 season series win over LA after Thursday night. While Oklahoma City stays in the two-seed in the Western standings, the Clippers remain one sport below in third (36-18). The Clippers sit 2.5 games behind the top-seeded Timberwolves.

Hits: Norman Powell was a big reason the Clippers were able to keep the game close throughout the first half. He came off the bench scoring 19 points in 31 minutes. However, 14 of those came in just the first half alone.

Misses: The Clippers scored a whopping 24 points in the paint in the first quarter on 12-of-18 shooting. For the rest of game, LA would score 18 paint points while going 9-of-30 from the field.

Stat of the game: Oklahoma City outscored the Clippers 30-10 in the fast break category. It was the most fast break points allowed by LA all season. The Thunder scored 21 of those fast break points in just the second half.

Up next: The Clippers will have to regroup in less than 24 hours for the back end of a back-to-back in Memphis. After they take on the Grizzlies, LA’s schedule doesn’t get any easier. The team has 29 games scheduled post-All-Star break, the most in the NBA.The Clippers also have seven back-to-backs left, also the most in the NBA.