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OKLAHOMA CITY â€” With Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers in town against the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night, a packed Chesapeake Energy Arena was expected â€” and thatâ€™s exactly what Oklahoma City delivered.
Griffin, a native Oklahoman and a former Oklahoma Sooner, struggled against the Thunder in the game, and scored a career-low seven points.
In their previous meeting, Griffin had a monster dunk over Oklahoma Cityâ€™s Kendrick Perkins, but this time Perkins delivered a hard foul early in the first quarter against Griffin. It seemed to affect his play the rest of the game. Griffin didnâ€™t have a dunk the entire night.
â€śI wasnâ€™t trying to intentionally foul him,â€ť Perkins said. â€śItâ€™s just a part of it. It just happened.â€ť
Griffin settled for jump shots for most of the game, finishing 3-of-11 from the field and seven rebounds.
The Thunder acquired former Los Angeles Laker player Derek Fisher just before the game, and he entered to a rousing ovation at the 1:38 mark of the first quarter. Fisher, with 15-plus years of experience, including five National Basketball Association championships, will give the Thunder experience and leadership that should make a positive impact on the team. He didnâ€™t score until 7:40 left in the game, a corner 3-point basket that brought another ovation from the crowd.
After suffering a tough road loss at Utah the night before, the Thunder got back on track against the Clippers.
â€śDefensively, I thought we played good throughout the game,â€ť Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said. â€śYou want to contest shots, and we did that. Serge (Ibaka) and Nick (Collison) did a great job on (Griffin). You just want to stay between him and the basket. We even made his catches very tough.â€ť
Kevin Durant had another great game for the Thunder, scoring 32 points, grabbing nine rebounds, handing out five assists, having two steals and a blocked shot. The Thunder's toughness and defense played a big part in this Oklahoma City victory.
â€śI think we just protected the paint and played physical,â€ť Perkins said. â€śBefore the game, coach told us that they were more physical the last time we played them. So, I thought we came out and did what we needed to do to get the win, and played physical.â€ť
Oklahoma City pushed out to a 33-30 lead after a quarter, but then really played well in the second quarter, holding the Clippers to just 20 points while scoring 33 to post a 66-50 lead at halftime. The Clippers got no closer than nine in the second half.
Oklahoma City returns to action at 7 p.m. tonight as the Minnesota Timberwolves come to Chesapeake Energy Arena to face the Thunder.