The Los Angeles Clippers rode the red-hot scoring of former Oklahoma City Hornets star Chris Paul to take a whopping 69-52 halftime lead over the OKC Thunder in the opening game of their NBA Western Conference semifinal series at “the Peake” downtown.
Paul, who won the NBA “Rookie of the Year” award while playing in OKC almost a decade ago, ripped the nets for 22 first half points including 6-6 on his 3-pt. attempts. Former Sooners star Blake Griffin added 11 and forward Matt Barnes tossed in 10 as the visiting Clippers shot 57% as a team.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have scored 16 points apiece for the Thunder, which allowed an astonishing 39 first quarter points to the Clippers, after giving up 36 points in the 7th and deciding game to Memphis Saturday night, also in the opening period of play. Serge Ibaka added 10 points in the half, but OKC turned it over 11 times, to just 3 for the Clippers and that led to some easy L.A. baskets.
The Thunder actually cut in to the Clippers biggest lead of the half (65-41) with a decent run near the halftime buzzer. Game #2 of the series will be Wednesday night, also at 8:30pm at the Chesapeake Arena before the best-of-7 series shifts west for Friday night’s 3rd game at 9:30pm Oklahoma time at the Staples Center in California.