Oklahoma City has rare breakdown, loses to Clippers again

Oklahoma City has an answer for one half of L.A., but the other half they just cannot finish off.

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost for the third time in four tries this season against the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night on the road inside Staples Center, while they are 2-0 against the Lakers this season.

Clippers point guard Chris Paul finished with 12 points and 10 assists, while four other teammates also scored in double figures, led by 17 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists from all-star power forward Blake Griffin.

The Thunder, who led for the majority of the game and were up going into the fourth quarter, were led by Kevin Durant’s 24 points, but he shot only 5-18 and had 5 turnovers. Likewise, all-star Russell Westbrook had only 9 points on 4-16 shooting with 5 turnovers. The Thunder do not win when those two players do not play well.

“It’s easy, we didn’t make our shots in the second half,” Thunder coach Scott Skiles said after the game. “Give them credit. They did a good job of defending. They got hot from the 3-point line and we missed some shots and free throws.”

The Thunder scored only 10 points in the fourth quarter, and that proved to be the difference in the game.

The win puts the pressure on the rival Lakers to continue winning, as the Clippers remain only one game behind the Lakers for the third seed in the Western Conference standings.

The loss for Oklahoma City puts them in a tie for first place with the San Antonio Spurs, who beat Golden State Monday night. If the two teams ended in a tie, the tiebreaker would go to the Spurs, since they have a 2-1 edge in the season series over the Thunder.

The Thunder look to improve their positioning when they play again on Wednesday at Phoenix, while the Clippers look to put even more pressure on the Lakers on Wednesday when they play in Denver versus the Nuggets.