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(Wednesday, November 13th)
Final Score: LA Clippers 111, Oklahoma City 103
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Los Angeles' Matt Barnes played a role in the most pivotal altercation of the game despite watching the second half from the locker room.
Barnes and Thunder forward Serge Ibaka were involved in a scuffle at the end of the first half, and both were ejected for the fracas. With Oklahoma City's defensive stalwart a non-factor, the Clippers rallied from their nine-point halftime deficit and came away with a 111-103 victory at Staples Center.
Chris Paul recorded his ninth straight double-double to start the season, finishing with 14 points and 16 assists to go with seven rebounds for the Clippers, who won their third straight and improved to 4-0 at home.
Blake Griffin also filled the stat sheet with 22 points, 12 boards and seven helpers, while Jamal Crawford contributed 20 points off the bench in the win.
Kevin Durant paced the Thunder with 33 points, 10 assists and six boards, but his club watched a four-game winning streak come to an end.
"We turned the ball over too many times in the second half," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks admitted. "They also had 17 or 18 offensive rebounds. Those two things hurt us. No excuses, they beat us."
Oklahoma City appeared in control before Griffin and Ibaka got tangled up under the basket in the closing seconds of the first half. Griffin went to the floor when Ibaka tried to yank his arm loose from Griffin's grasp. Barnes came from behind and shoved Ibaka, who cocked his arm back looking for a target but did not throw a punch.
After looking at the replay, the officials ejected both Ibaka and Barnes, and Griffin was hit with a technical foul. Barnes was 0-for-5 from the field while Ibaka was a perfect 6-for-6 for 13 points at the time.
The Thunder certainly missed Ibaka's presence in the middle after the break.
The Clippers made their run late in the third quarter, as Griffin converted a three-point play to cap a 9-0 surge and break a 71-71 tie.
"In the third we did such a great job," Griffin said. "This was a big test for us. We'll take the win, but there are some things we have to work on."
The hosts were in front, 83-78, heading to the fourth and scored the first eight points of the final stanza. Oklahoma City called a timeout after going down by 11, and Darren Collison stole the ensuing inbounds pass and went in for an easy layup to give the Clippers a 91-78 cushion with 10 minutes to play.
Durant scored five points and assisted on three other baskets during a 12-4 push that brought Thunder within 100-96 with 3 1/2 minutes left, but the comeback fell short.
Crawford put in two shots around two Westbrook misses from the foul line, and Durant airballed a 3-pointer the next time down to essentially seal the outcome.
The Thunder found themselves down 8-0 just over three minutes into the game, but after missing their first five shots, they nailed 13 of their next 17 the rest of the opening quarter.
Oklahoma City took a 33-25 lead into the second frame, and Westbrook's buzzer- beating 3-pointer just after the questionable ejections sent the Thunder into the locker room with a 62-53 advantage.
Westbrook wound up with 19 points and 10 assists.
The Thunder swept all three meetings last season ... Both teams turned the ball over 22 times ... With Ibaka out of the game, the Clippers held a 28-16 advantage in points in the paint ... Los Angeles held a 50-35 rebounding edge ... DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick each netted 15 points in the win.
11/14 02:34:17 ET