|Date of game: 10/30/2014
Recap: LA Clippers vs. Oklahoma City
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - It wasn't pretty, but Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers grinded out a 93-90 win over the short- handed Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.
Paul missed a pair of free throws that could have made it a three-point game with 13.8 seconds remaining, but he went to the ground to secure the rebound on Sebastian Telfair's miss at the other end and Griffin sank two from the stripe.
It was 91-88 with 5.8 seconds left when LA fouled Nick Collison intentionally to prevent the Thunder from getting off a look from 3-point range. He hit two as well, then J.J. Redick restored the three-point margin with his pair with 2.8 seconds to play.
Without any timeouts, Thunder center Steven Adams inbounded to Serge Ibaka near mid-court. Ibaka took two dribbles and lined up a deep triple, which missed short as the final buzzer sounded.
"Opening nights are tough. We won but we didn't play well," said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. "I didn't like our tempo. We have to play at a better pace."
Griffin showed off an improved jumper on his way to 23 points and Paul tallied 22 with seven assists to edge out a Thunder unit that hardly resembled the team that took the Spurs to six games in the Western Conference finals after knocking the Clippers out of the playoffs a season ago.
Reigning league MVP Kevin Durant had foot surgery and will miss the early portion of the season. The Thunder also traveled to Los Angles without guards Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Anthony Morrow and rookie big man Mitch McGary.
Russell Westbrook joined the walking wounded after leaving in the second quarter with a small fracture in his right hand.
"It's unfortunate, the way it is right now but it's the way it is," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "We have to figure out how to continue to improve."
Instead of Durant and Westbrook, who averaged a combined 53.8 points per game last season, it was third-year forward Perry Jones totaling a career-high 32 points to keep things competitive. Ibaka added 17 points and Telfair scored 11 with seven helpers off the bench.
The Thunder started 4-for-4 from the field, with four different players hitting shots to stake the visitors an early 8-0 lead. Griffin settled down the Clippers with a pair of free throws, but Ibaka scored eight straight Thunder points to keep them in front.
Paul split a pair at the line later in the period to make it 22-20. Again the Thunder responded, this time with four straight Jones free throws. OKC led 28-22 after one.
Jamal Crawford heated up early the second, scoring nine of LA's first 14 points in the period. His triple at 7:46 gave the Clippers their first lead.
Jones scored five straight late in the period to put the Thunder back in front, but LA scored eight of the final 10 points in the half to take a 46-41 lead into halftime.
Oklahoma City locked down defensively in the second half to stay in the game and give itself a chance late.Game Notes
This was the first regular season game for new Clippers owner and former
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who purchased the team for a record $2 billion
this offseason ... Crawford scored 16 points off the bench ... OKC won the
rebounding margin, 47-33, but doubled LA's turnovers, 22-11.