Chris Paul and Clippers go wild on Thunder in 122-105 romp in Game 1

first_imgGame 2 is here Wednesday.Paul made his first eight 3-point baskets on his way to a game-high 32 points. He had 17 first-quarter points and made all five of his 3-pointers in those first 12 minutes. He made 12 of 14 from the field overall and, showing he’s human on a night when he was otherworldly, missed his ninth 3-point attempt.Keep in mind Paul is nursing a sore right hamstring. He didn’t look like it, though. He did not play in the fourth quarter. Neither did three of the other starters. They didn’t have to.“Me and Blake (Griffin) talked about it at shootaround this morning,” Paul said. “We were still a little tight from the traveling, but we talked about it and said, ‘At 8:30, we’ve gotta be ready to go.’“So I came over here early before the game and got a lot of shots up, so I think that had a lot to do with it.” OKLAHOMA CITY >> Chris Paul, Mr. 3-pointer.“That’s what I do, that’s what I do. That’s a lie,” he said, laughing.Paul and the rest of the Clippers were in a terrific mood late Monday, and for good reason. Thanks to a prolific shooting night by Paul and just a strong, overall performance by the entire team, the Clippers walloped the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-105 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series in front of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.The fans who were loud at the outset quickly were hushed by Paul and Co. The game was not that close, either, as the Clippers led by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Paul also had 10 assists.Clippers coach Doc Rivers noticed Griffin didn’t go to the post as much as usual because he saw how hot Paul was at the outset, so he stayed outside more to help set screens.“When somebody’s going like that, you just want to try to stay out of the way as much as possible, but also help keep that fire going,” Griffin said.Thunder coach Scott Brooks was stunned, to be sure. Like the Clippers, his team had just survived a tough, seven-game first-round series. But as the No. 2 seed, Oklahoma City had home-court advantage. Not anymore.“Chris Paul had an unbelievable 3-point night,” Brooks said. “We have to do a better job of guarding the line and guarding the ball.”The Thunder actually led 16-10 before Paul went off. By the time the first quarter ended, the Clippers were up 39-25. They led 69-52 at intermission and 104-76 entering the fourth quarter.Griffin contributed 23 points, five rebounds and five assists. Jamal Crawford had 17 points off the bench and went 6 of 11 from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.The Clippers shot 54.9 percent (45 of 82) overall from the field, including 51.7 percent (15 of 29) from beyond the arc.J.J. Redick had 12 points for the Clippers and Matt Barnes had 10.Russell Westbrook scored 29 for Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant had 25.Westbrook was asked if his team may have let up after starting off well.“I don’t think we relaxed, they just hit some tough shots,” he said.Westbrook and Durant understandably were disappointed.“It’s a quick turnaround, we only have a day between games,” Durant said. “That’s the best part about it.”The Clippers’ bench had 38 points, which was good but not spectacular. Still, Rivers correctly noted the second unit built a 14-point first-quarter lead to 19 points in the second.“Other than Chris Paul setting the tone, I thought the bench was the key to the game tonight,” Rivers said.Crawford said he liked what the team did as a whole.“Coach said it was one of our most complete wins, top to bottom,” he said. “I think Chris came in and set the tone, being aggressive like that.”Paul is a career 35.7 percent shooter from 3-point range.last_img read more

Lakers injury updates: LeBron James, Anthony Davis expected to play on Christmas vs. Clippers

first_imgMORE: SN’s NBA Athlete of the DecadeBoth James and Davis were listed as questionable on Monday for the Christmas showdown with the Clippers, but the All-Star forwards pushed for an impromptu practice on Christmas Eve, per Wojnarowski and McMenamin. Practice time has been hard to find for coach Frank Vogel, as the Lakers have played 12 of their last 16 games on the road. There won’t be any talk of load management in Los Angeles on Christmas Day.Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis are expected to play on Wednesday against the Clippers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin. James missed a game for the first time this season on Sunday with a thoracic muscle strain and discomfort in his groin; Davis hurt his right knee in that game, a 128-104 loss to the Nuggets. “We went a 10-day trip without a single practice, really,” Vogel told reporters on Monday. “One shootaround, I think. Sometimes that benefits your legs, but usually it leads to a little bit of slippage in your execution and togetherness, particularly on the defensive end.”🎥 Frank Vogel gives an injury update for LeBron and AD. pic.twitter.com/DtsKBUgsRZ— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 23, 2019The Lakers stand alone at the top of the Western Conference standings with a 24-6 record, but a three-game losing streak has allowed contenders like the Nuggets (21-8), Rockets (21-9) and Clippers (22-10) to close the gap. The Lakers will need to fire on all cylinders to defeat the Clippers, who won the first battle of LA on Opening Night without Paul George.George will be part of the starting five this time, joining Kawhi Leonard on the Staples Center floor. Leonard sat out Sunday’s game against the Thunder, but the 2019 NBA Finals MVP is available for the Christmas Day contest.last_img read more