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A rough homecoming for Los Angeles Clipper star

March 23, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY — With Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers in town against the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night, a packed Chesapeake Energy Arena was expected — and that’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 City’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 didn’t have a dunk the entire night.
“I wasn’t trying to intentionally foul him,” Perkins said. “It’s just a part of it. It just happened.”
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 didn’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.
“Defensively, I thought we played good throughout the game,” Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said. “You 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.”
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.
“I think we just protected the paint and played physical,” Perkins said. “Before 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.”
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.

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