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Clippers visit Thunder in battle of West powers
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to avenge a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last week when the two sides meet Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Clippers toppled the Thunder, 111-103, last Wednesday at Staples Center in a game that got chippy. Matt Barnes of the Clippers and Serge Ibaka of the Thunder were ejected after getting into a pushing match in the first half.
OKC lost both games on that trip, including a heartbreaker to the Golden State Warriors the very next night. Since, the Thunder have taken two straight, including a 115-113 home win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday.
The Thunder were down 14 at one point in the fourth quarter, but thanks to great fourth-quarter play from Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City was able to come back for the victory.
"We're very prideful and we're going to keep fighting until the last possession," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "That's always been a trademark."
Durant finished with 38 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Westbrook had 30 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Reggie Jackson chipped in 12 off the bench.
Thursday's game will be the second in a six-game homestand for the Thunder.
The Clips complete a short jaunt east in Oklahoma City. They topped the Minnesota Timberwolves, 102-98, on Wednesday night and, in the process, put Chris Paul into the record books.
Paul finished with 20 points and 11 assists to become the first player in NBA history to open a season with 12 consecutive games with at least 10 points and 10 assists.
"It's like you can always count on him," said forward Blake Griffin. "No matter how he's played through three quarters or three and a half quarters or whatever it is, you know he's going to come up with big plays, whether it's assists, steals, scoring, whatever it is."
Paul scored 13 points in a row in the final frame and 16 of the team's final 20.
"We're all competitive," Paul said, "and as a leader of the team, me and Blake, that's what it is: time to win."
Griffin had 20 points and 10 rebounds while three other Clippers -- Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley -- also scored in double figures against Minny. DeAndre Jordan only had four points, but grabbed 12 boards.
There may not be the same fireworks as last Wednesday if for no other reason than the fact Barnes isn't with the Clippers. He did not travel with the team due to a left eye contusion.
The Clippers' victory over the Thunder last week snapped a three-game losing streak against OKC. The Thunder are 4-1 in their last five against the Clips in Oklahoma City.
11/21 10:36:35 ET