For the second game in a row, the LA Clippers (13-4) took care of the Oklahoma City Thunder (6-9) at Staples Center. Yesterday afternoon they did it with a score of 108-100. The Thunder got off to a better start than they did in the game previous, but still almost repeated exactly the score from the last game’s first quarter. They managed to score one point better, this time scoring 19 instead of 18; while the Clips again scored 36. The Clippers led from wire to wire, but it was a much closer game throughout, only gaining as much as a 17 point lead. They led by double digits going into the last few minutes, until George Hill sank some late game 3’s to get it close. But the Thunder were ultimately done in due to some late game free throws from Reggie Jackson, and an all around monster game from Kawhi Leonard. The Clips were cold once again from behind the three point line, but were able to sweep this quick 2 game series at home and extend their winning streak to 7 games.
STAR OF THE GAME
The Clippers do not come close to winning this game if it were not for the play of Kawhi Leonard. He put up a near triple double scoring a game high 34 points with 9 rebounds and 8 assists. He started off the game hitting a few 3 pointers in a row, and continued his hot shooting for most of the game making 14 of his 24 shots. One of which where he echoed Blake Griffin by dribbling right through the Thunder’s D for a monster dunk. He also guarded the Thunder’s best player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for much of the game. Shai still got his scoring 23, but he scored less than his 30 from the game previous, and those points did not come nowhere near as easily. Paul George was the star of Friday night’s game, but he struggled in this one barely scoring 11 points. He apparently had some hamstring tightness, and sat out the closing minutes of the game due to it. With the lack of a standout game from the team’s other All-Star, Kawhi took it upon himself to put the team on his back and carry this one home.
The team’s injury report has me concerned after this game. Patrick Beverley left the game after the first half due to knee soreness. Paul George had his hamstring tightness affect his game as well as his potential availability for the next game. Marcus Morris Sr. did not play at all because of a non-Covid related illness. Chemistry issues due to a lack of playing enough together was probably the biggest factor contributing to the team’s early playoff exit last year, and once again the team did not have their full roster available to them. It seems they are snake bitten, because they cannot get a clean bill of health for any extended period of time. They have the best record in the league currently despite that fact, but they are still going to need play much more with everyone available if they are going to get into the right comfort level with each other necessary to succeed in the post-season.
Reggie Jackson filling in for Patrick Beverley in the second half. Pat Bev’s bad knees once again flared up on him and it forced him to have to sit after half-time. Reggie Jackson filled in admirably for him and scored a quick 5 points right away, totaling up 14 by the end of the game. Coach Ty Lue recently had a talk with Reggie, telling him he was going to get less minutes, and was effectively taken out of the rotation. That has not affected him game though as it may have earlier in his career, because when has been called upon he has played very well. The Thunder tried to play the foul game in the waning moments of the game when they made it dangerously close, but Jackson came up clutch and hit enough of his free-throws to ice it.
At Atlanta Hawks, Tuesday, January 26th at 4:30PM
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