Oklahoma City Continues to Struggle, Falls to Clippers
Second half shooting woes bit the Thunder again Saturday, cosing them a double-digit lead in the second half.
Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:19 pm
News On 6
Originally Published: Apr 3, 2011 12:38 AM CDTGerald Goodridge
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
LOS ANGELES -- Oklahoma City continued to falter Saturday, falling victim to another late-game comeback and falling to the Los Angeles Clippers 98-92.
The Thunder built a big lead early, and led by as many as 12 in the second half, but once again had trouble hitting shots. At the 7:24 mark in the third quarter, Kendrick Perkins converted on a layup to give Oklahoma City a 57-45 advantage, but then the offense dried up for nearly three minutes.
Conversely, the Clippers took the opportunity to make a dent in the lead, rattling off 10 unanswered points, including four from Oklahoma City product Blake Griffin, to cut the lead to 57-55. Serge Ibaka answered with a layup to extend the lead back to four, however Los Angeles scored four unanswered to tie the game 59-59 with 3:18 left in the quarter.
A 26-foot three-pointer from Eric Gordon gave Los Angeles its first lead of the game with less than a minute left to play in the third, but Oklahoma City scored four unanswered to close the quarter and take a 71-68 advantage into the final 12 minutes.
Eric Maynor started the quarter off with an 18-foot jumper to add to the lead, but the Clippers continued to battle. Six unanswered points gave Los Angeles a 74-73 lead less than two minutes into the closing quarter.
However, Oklahoma City responded with a 13-7 run, nine coming from the charity stripe, to take an 86-81 advantage with five minutes left in the contest. Los Angeles battled back with an 10-4 run of its own, six coming from behind the arc, to 91-90 lead with less than two minutes to play.
Nick Collison connected on a hook shot with 90 seconds left on the clock to take a one-point lead, but those were the last points for the Thunder in the contest.
The Clippers scored the game’s final seven points, including a dagger 3-pointer from Gordon with 43 seconds left to play to come away with the win.
Griffin finished with a game-high 26 points and 16 rebounds, six points and four boards coming in the final frame, with Gordon adding 18 points and Craig Smith scoring 14 from the bench.
Durant, who scored a team-high 23 points, struggled from the field in the second half of the game, possibly leading to Oklahoma City’s struggles. After shooting 6-of-10 in the first half, the league’s leading scorer finished the night 10-of-24 from the field. Russell Westbrook struggled again as well, fouling out with 36 seconds left to play after scoring just nine points and hitting just one field goal.
Oklahoma City is out of action until Tuesday before taking on the surging Denver Nuggets, who are just three games behind Oklahoma City for the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference.