NBA

Clippers Avenge New Year's Eve Loss to Thunder, 120-98, But Lose Chris Paul

J.J. Redick had 20 points as the Los Angeles Clippers avenged a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on New Years Eve with one of their own, 120-98, to extend their winning streak to seven games on Martin Luther King Day at Staples Center.

The Clippers may have won the battle, but they could have lost the war.

The surging Clippers avenged an earlier blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on New Year's Eve by turning the tables on their foes, 120-98, on Martin Luther King Day at Staples Center.

The Clippers overcame a crippling blow as point guard Chris Paul exited the game early in the second quarter with a sprained thumb after going for a steal on Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook. 

Initial x-rays on Paul's thumb were negative, but the point guard is still expected to miss significant time. Currently there is no timetable for his return.

Mo Speights had a season-high 23 points, J.J Redick scored 20, and DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and 15 rebounds as the Clippers improved to a franchise best, 7-0 in 2017.

Westbrook scored 24 points, but was held mostly in check as the triple-double machine fell firmly short of the mark with just five rebounds and four assists. 

"We just were not ready to play," Westbrook said after the game. "We need to be more physical. It's a road game. They are a good team at home. We need to be ready to play."

After Paul left the game, Austin Rivers and Raymond Felton drew the assignment to guard the NBA's leading MVP candidate. Rivers scored 16 and Felton chipped in 15 as the two guards combined to outscore Westbrook 18-13 and dished out more assists 11-to-4 in Paul's absence.

"We don't know what's going on with him [Chris Paul] yet," said Felton after. "I haven't had the chance to text or call him, but it was a scary moment to see him go down. Hopefully, he's going to be alright."

It was a week of retribution as the Clippers avenged losses to the Lakers and Thunder in back-to-back games. Both teams defeated L.A. soundly during their six-game losing streak to end the year, but are now notches on their belt as the Clippers remain the only undefeated NBA team in 2017.

Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams missed the contest with a concussion, and his presence was missed in the paint as Jordan and Speights combined for 37 points. As a team, the Clippers outscored the Thunder 62-to-34 in the pain over the course of the game. 

"They were great," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said of playing the two centers together. "I was playing them tonight against a team who went big. We were able to do that tonight and it was a great combination."

Both Rivers and Jordan were assessed technical fouls in the game, despite head coach Doc River's pledge that the team would cut down on techs in the new year. Under the coaches' new policy, both Rivers and Jordan will have to donate money to a charity.

"I didn't like either one of them," Rivers said about the technical fouls on his players. "We talked about it. Heart V.I.P. gets more money, and we're going to keep giving more money. Neither one of them should have gotten it. We're a very egregious team. Austin is like his mom in that regard."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was honored before the game with a video tribute and a choir at a halftime. Before the game, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said that Dr. King's dream has still not been realized yet, telling ESPN's Jackie MacMullan that "we're still not there yet," as a country.

Up Next:

Thunder: Things only get worse for OKC as they head north to Oakland to clash with former teammate Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors. 

Clippers: Los Angeles will get two days off before hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday at Staples Center. 

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