Recap: Oklahoma City vs. LA Clippers

 

The Sports Network

Oklahoma City, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Paul and the Clippers landed a haymaker early in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series against Oklahoma City, and the Thunder never peeled themselves off the mat.

Paul, despite dealing with a sprained left thumb and a right hamstring injury, poured in an electric 17 points in an opening quarter that saw Los Angeles build a huge lead and never let up en route to an emphatic 122-105 rout.

Two days after finishing off the Golden State Warriors in a hard-fought series, the Clippers shot a blistering 54.9 percent from the field and 15- of-29 from 3-point range.

Paul finished with 32 points and 10 assists and was especially efficient as he connected on his first eight 3-point tries and only missed two of his 14 shots overall in fashioning a signature playoff performance that lacked one to this point.

"It was just one of those nights," Paul said. "I just tried to be aggressive."

Blake Griffin complemented Paul with 23 points, while Jamal Crawford donated 17 points off the bench in the blowout.

Oklahoma City, which was coming off its own grueling seven-game series against the Memphis Grizzlies, received typical productive efforts from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant that went for naught.

Westbrook scored a team-high 29 points, while Durant added 25 for the Thunder, who will look to bounce back in Game 2 on Wednesday.

"We have to flip the page quickly," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "We have a day (Tuesday) for adjustments. ... I'm confident we're going to play much better Wednesday night."

The Clippers closed out their Game 7 win over the Warriors on Saturday with a 39-point fourth quarter, and they duplicated the feat in the first 12 minutes of Monday's tilt.

The Thunder played off Paul early on, and the All-Star point guard solved the defensive strategy by simply shooting over top of them.

He followed a J.J. Redick 3-pointer with his first from behind the arc to tie things at 16-16 midway through the opening frame, then added two more during a 13-2 flurry that gave the Clippers a 34-22 advantage.

"When someone has it going like that, you want to stay out of the way," Griffin said in deferring to Paul. "That first quarter was crazy."

Paul's fifth 3-pointer in the closing seconds produced a surprisingly lopsided 39-25 lead, and in a league where seemingly everyone makes a run, the Thunder never did.

The closest they got the rest of the way was 13, and that came early in the second quarter.

Matt Barnes' deep triple gave the visitors a 65-41 cushion with under three minutes to go in the half, and it was a 69-52 difference at the break.

Durant and Westbrook scored on consecutive possessions early in the third quarter to pull the Thunder within 71-56, but another Paul trifecta ignited an 11-0 surge that ended with Paul finding Redick for a layup.

Game Notes

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