OKLAHOMA CITY – They won't stand a chance they said.
Without four of their starters, the Los Angeles Clippers tried to defy the odds by silencing the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford combined for 64 points, but the Clippers couldn't hang on in the final minutes and lost 119-117 at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday night.
The Clippers were playing without four of their regular starters as DeAndre Jordan, Paul Pierce, J.J. Redick and Chris Paul all sat out to rest as Los Angeles was playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
Both teams started hot as each team shot above 60 percent from the field in the first half. Rivers, starting in place of All-Star Chris Paul, scored a career-high 32 points, including 7 three-pointers. Jeff Green scored 19 points off the bench.
The Thunder were at full strength, but took all they could handle from the depleted Clippers. Kevin Durant had 31 points and 8 rebounds. Russell Westbrook had 26 points, 11 assist, seven rebounds and four steals.
Players of the Night:
Kevin Durant – 31 points, 8 rebounds and five assists.
Russell Westbrook – 26 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds and four steals.
Austin Rivers – 32 points, seven three-pointers.
Jamal Crawford – 32 points and seven assists.
1. Playing With House Money: The Clippers may have lost the game, but they were playing with house money all night. Without four of their regular starters, they lead for most of the second half and with less than two minutes remaining. After the game, the headlines were more about the Thunder barely beating the Clippers bench, then getting the victory.
so OKC barely beat a star-less Clippers team at home tonight and I'm supposed to take them serious? — April's Fool. (@PharmersOnly) April 1, 2016
2. Old Man Rivers: 36-year-old guard Jamal Crawford and backup point guard Austin Rivers combined for 64 points. The two bench players outscored the best duo in the league of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
3. Where Did The Defense Go? The Thunder snapped the Clippers four-game win-streak, but without their starters the dominating defense that held their last four opponents under 94 points, disappeared. Oklahoma City scored 119 points, 40 more than the Clippers allowed one night earlier in a blowout victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Los Angeles Clippers (47-28) will host the Washington Wizards on April 3 at Staples Center as Blake Griffin returns to the LA lineup for the first time since Chrismas Day.
The Oklahoma City Thunder (53-23) will travel to Houston to take on the Rockets on Sunday, April 3.