The Los Angeles Clippers (1-1) defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-92 on Friday night at Staples Center to pick up it’s first in the 2018-2019 season, after suffering it’s home opening loss to the Denver Nuggets last Wednesday 107-98.
The Clippers opened the game on a 16-0 run and were firing on all cylinders. They came out as team determined not to begin their season 0-2.
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They rode the shoulders of their wings Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari who both had game-highs of 26 points combining for 52 of the teams 108. Gallinari scored 26 points in just 27 minutes hitting 4-5 from three and said after the game "When you see the energy and the fans on our side, we were just having fun." Harris had his second straight double-double to the start the season with 10 rebounds to go along with his 26 points.
The bench according to Coach Doc Rivers who “did not play well” in the first half contributed 42 points and had Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lou Williams close the game playing the entire the fourth quarter. Gilgeous-Alexander who did not have a field goal was on the floor to help finish the game and Coach Rivers said in a post-game interview regarding to keep him on the floor “he was terrific defensively.” Williams had 17 points (4-12 fg) and made all seven of his free throw attempts.
The Clippers closed the game on an 18-2 run after the game had been tied by a Thunder’s Paul George three. Coach Rivers said after the game that the “our spacing and execution was terrific.” The Clippers were a +10 from the free throw line (27-17) and a +12 from three.
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The Thunder (0-2) who were coming off a tough opening night loss to the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors 108-100 on Tuesday night were once again shorthanded. They were without its superstar Russell Westbrook, who sat out his second straight game as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery during the off-season.
They were led by All-Star Paul George who struggled in the first half scoring just 4 points. He finished with a team high 20 points (13 in 3rd) before fouling out late in the fourth. Despite Westbrook not being in the lineup George still feels he has a lot of responsibility to hold it down until he returns:
"I've still got to get this group ready to go," he said. "I've got to get this group ready to win games regardless if Russ is out there or if Russ is not."
Steven Adams had his second straight double-double with 17 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. Dennis Schroder who is starting lineup until Westbrook returns and had a very efficient game opening night against the Warriors (21 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assist) did not have a similar output against the Clippers. He finished with 8 points (2-15 fg) but did have a game-high 8 assist.
Coach Billy Donovan said after the game "We've got to execute better, we've got to run offense, and we're not going to be able just to rely on guys just trying to create and manufacture shots," Donovan said. "We have to do it together."
Clippers welcome the Houston Rockets the team with best record a year ago coming off an embarrassing home opening loss to the New Orleans Pelicans will be hungry.
Next Game: 10/21 vs Rockets 7:30 PT