Paul Slices Up Thunder As OKC Slips To No. 9 Spot
OKLAHOMA CITY - Chris Paul had 33 points and nine assists, J.J. Redick added 25 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat Oklahoma City 120-108 on Wednesday night, ending the Thunder's seven-game home winning streak. DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Clippers, who are fighting for a top-four seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Oklahoma City is battling to merely make the field and fell a half-game behind the New Orleans Pelicans in the race for the final playoff spot.
Both teams are playing for extended stretches without their superstar forwards: Kevin Durant for the Thunder, Blake Griffin for the Clippers. In their absence, Paul fared better than his point guard counterpart, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook, who had recorded triple-doubles in five of Oklahoma City's previous six games, finished with 24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and a career-high 10 turnovers.
Anthony Morrow came off the bench to score 26 points for the Thunder, who could get Durant back from a foot injury in a week or two, coach Scott Brooks said before the game.
Los Angeles went 15 of 30 from behind the arc and controlled the game throughout. Paul went 5 of 8 from 3-point range while Matt Barnes scored 22 points on 6-of-7 shooting on 3s.
The Clippers jumped to a 28-11 lead during the first seven minutes, but Morrow led a comeback by the Thunder with five first-half 3-pointers. Oklahoma City, which went 10 of 16 from 3-point range in the half, twice pulled even, the latter time at 47-all midway through the second quarter.
Paul hit a pair of 3-pointers in the next two minutes as Los Angeles re-established control and the Clippers led 65-57 at halftime.
The Clippers pushed their lead to 86-66 with 6:53 left in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Paul. The advantage eventually peaked at 22 points.
Oklahoma City came no closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
Clippers: Going for a loose ball in the closing seconds of the first half, Paul dived into Kevin Durant's brother, Tony Durant, who was sitting in a courtside seat. Tony Durant shook his right leg as if he were in pain, but was able to walk around at halftime . Jordan went 5 of 6 from the foul line in the first half after entering the game shooting 40.1 percent for the season. He finished the game 12 of 22 . Paul's 20 first-half points were a season high . Redick and Oklahoma City's Enes Kanter were called for double technical fouls with 4:51 left.
Thunder: For a time in the second quarter, the Thunder experimented with a two-center lineup, playing Kanter and Steven Adams together for the first time to bolster their interior defense. Kanter remained as the starter at the position and scored 18 points . Morrow went 6 of 9 from 3-point range, setting a season high for made 3s . After taking a hard foul from Barnes midway through the first quarter, Westbrook threw down the protective mask he's worn over his face since undergoing surgery for a fractured cheek bone.
Clippers: Visit Dallas on Friday.
Thunder: Host Minnesota on Friday.