Clippers handle big exam well in 111-103 win over Thunder

This was yet another game for the Clippers to measure themselves against one of the NBA's elite teams with two of the league's top players.

The Clippers passed this test because six players scored in double figures and because they played their best defense of the game in the second half of their 111-103 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

"It's a regular game now. It's one of 82 now," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "But during the game, it wasn't [a regular game], clearly. You could see both teams had a lot of interest in winning this game, which is good."

BOX SCORE: Clippers 111, Oklahoma City 103

Chris Paul had another double-double with 14 points and 16 assists, making him the first player in Clippers history to have at least 10 points and 10 assists in the first nine games of a season.

The last player to accomplish the feat was Lakers guard Magic Johnson in the 1990-91 season, when he did it in the first 11 games.

Paul also had seven rebounds.

Blake Griffin almost had a triple-double, producing 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 20 points for the Clippers, including a three-pointer with 34.6 seconds left for a 109-101 lead that spelled the end for the Thunder.

DeAndre Jordan (15 points, nine rebounds), J.J. Redick (15 points) and Jared Dudley (10 points) did their part.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant had 33 points on eight-for-18 shooting and guard Russell Westbrook had 19 points on seven-for-18 shooting.

After giving up 62 points to in the first half, the Clippers held the Thunder to 41 points in the second half.

That went a long way in helping the Clippers break a three-game losing streak to the Thunder dating back to last season.

A little skirmish broke out with 6.2 seconds left in the second quarter after Thabo Sefolosha fouled Griffin, who then became entangled with Serge Ibaka.

That's when Matt Barnes stepped in and pushed Ibaka, who pushed Barnes back. The two were separated and the officials reviewed the tape to decide what actions to take.

Barnes and Ibaka were ejected and Griffin was issued a technical foul.

The end result was Westbrook rushing down the court and drilling a 26-foot three-pointer with 0.2 seconds left for a 62-53 halftime lead for the Thunder.

The Thunder already was short-handed as starting center Kendrick Perkins was not here because of a death in his family. Rookie Stephen Adams started in place of Perkins.

The Thunder missed its first five shots, but still shot 59.1% in the first in opening an eight-point lead that was stretched to 47-33 in the second quarter.

But the Clippers finally started playing some defense in the third quarter, holding the Thunder to 16 points, which allowed L.A. to open an 83-78 lead entering the fourth.

The Clippers and Thunder play again next Thursday night in Oklahoma City on another nationally televised game on TNT.

"I love games like this, they are nice," Rivers said. "They are fun to be in."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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