Thunder Clipped Up At Home
By Randy Renner
Oklahoma City's first NBA hero came back to town and terrorized the City's new NBA hero along with most everyone else inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Chris Paul tied his career high for made threes during a six minute stretch of the first quarter when he splashed five of them. He finished 8-for-9 from beyond the arc and 12-for-14 overall for 32 points leading his Clippers to a 122-105 drubbing of the Thunder on a game that wasn't even that close.
“I just tried to take what was given to me and just kept trying to be aggressive," CP3 said. "I came over here (to the arena) early before the game today to get some shots up and try to get my body right.”
Paul had been bother the last several games by a sore hamstring and a sore thumb, neither seemed to bother him Monday night.
The Clippers were hot from everywhere, shooting 51.7 percent on threes and 54.9 percent overall while turning the ball over only nine times and handing out 26 assists.
Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 29 points on 9-for-14 shooting and Kevin Durant, who will receive the NBA Most Valuable Player Award on Tuesday, added 25 on 9-for-19. Serge Ibaka dropped in 12 on 6-for-9 shooting but no one else for the Thunder did much on offense. Caron Butler and Reggie Jackson were a combined 2-for-15 for seven points and 1-for-6 on threes.
The Thunder's biggest problem was defense, not much of it.
“We have to play better on defense. They were making shots, getting to the line and making threes," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "Chris had an unbelievable night. We have to do a better job guarding the 3-point line.”
The Thunder came into the game knowing they had to defend the perimeter, that's one reason why Brooks had Thabo Sefolosha back in the starting lineup, but they still couldn't get the job done.
Looking at film, seeing where they blew this game will hopefully help for Game 2 and remember the Thunder lost two games at home against Memphis and still won the series.
So it's early, but Oklahoma City had better win Game 2 or it will start getting late awfully fast.