Kawhi Leonard had yet to miss a game before Thursday, but a left hip contusion late in Wednesday’s game against Dallas ruled him out in Oklahoma City.
At the same time, the Clippers saw their undefeated month come to an end without Leonard.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City with 31 points to lift the Thunder past his former team, 134-115.
“They did a good job of just attacking us,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We couldn’t get back, we couldn’t get set, we couldn’t get matched, and they took advantage of that early.”
Turning point: The Clippers kept it a three-point game after the first period thanks to a late 10-0 run. A Josh Giddey injury in the second quarter shook up Oklahoma City enough for the Clippers to trail at just 64-59 at halftime.
The Clippers caught a brief lead in the third, but a dunk from Chet Holgrem stopped any momentum LA might get. A Holgrem dunk initiated a 13-0 Oklahoma City run and gave the Thunder the lead for the rest of the game.
What it means: The Clippers drop to 17-11 on the season for the fifth seed spot in the Western Conference, while their away record falls to 6-8. Oklahoma City and the Clippers are set to face off twice more this year.
Hits: There were 21 first-half three-point attempts from Los Angeles, which is tied for the second-most they’ve had in a game this season. They had 22 in the first half against New Orleans on Nov. 24.
Misses: A stated, star forward Leonard missed his first game of the season after having a hot month. Leonard went down in the final minute of the Clippers win over the Mavericks Wednesday. Lue announced before Thursday’s bout that Leonard will remain day-to-day.
In December, Leonard averaged 29.3 points per game and six rebound per game on 61% shooting.
Stat of the game: Not necessarily a standout game for Los Angeles. The Clippers allowed 58.6% shooting from the field Thursday.
The previous high yield goal percentage allowed for a Clippers opponent was 53.4% from the Nuggets last month in Denver. Oklahoma City shot 60% from midrange and were 16-34 from beyond the arc.
Up next: The Clippers have three more games in the month of December, all on their home court at Crypto.com Arena. The Boston Celtics are the first of the three to visit LA on Saturday, followed by the Charlotte Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday and Friday.