Jamal Crawford, Chris Paul help Clippers beat Oklahoma City

first_img“I sensed it early. Doc sensed it early too,” Crawford said. “He thought I passed up a couple shots early and got on me.”While Rivers was telling Crawford to shoot more, he was telling his defense to let the Thunder keep firing from deep. One of the 10 worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA heading into Friday, the plan was to keep the paint loaded up with players and force Oklahoma City to shoot its way to a win.And the Thunder almost did.OKC made 16 of 28 from beyond the 3-point line, with Russell Westbrook, Victor Oladipo, Andre Roberson and Domantas Sabonis all making at least three.But instead of panicking, the Clippers stayed the course.“They just trusted,” Rivers said. “This was one of the games where you could lose your trust. Roberson was making 3s, Sabonis was making 3s and we were telling our guys to stay and clog the paint. They were looking at me, like ‘Why?’ Listen, we did it and worked out for us. But this was one of those games were you could’ve lost it easily.”But just like Paul always makes the right pass, and just like, it seems, that Crawford can always make the big shot, this Clippers team, it seems, always keeps defending.It’s why they’ve won five straight. It’s why they’re off to the best start in franchise history. And, it’s why, at 8-1, that they own the best record in the NBA.“We just stuck to the game plan,” Paul said.Griffin finished with 25 points and Paul added 17 points and 10 assists for the Clippers, who avenged their only loss, an 85-83 setback to the Thunder on Nov. 2 at Staples Center.Westbrook had 29 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. Oladipo scored 18 points, Enes Kanter had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Roberson added 13 points and nine rebounds for Oklahoma City (6-3). OKALHOMA CITY >> The eye of a needle probably looked like a Volkswagon bus in comparison.Surrounded by the Oklahoma City Thunder’s biggest and most athletic players, Chris Paul somehow found space to throw the ball back out to the 3-point line, into Jamal Crawford’s waiting hands.“I would’ve thrown that into the stands somewhere,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.And because you only have to tell Crawford to shoot one time, the Clippers’ reserve guard launched a high-arcing dagger in the final minutes, drilling the biggest shot in a 110-108 victory. “That’s why he’s the point god,” Crawford said of Paul and that pass. “…The smallest of windows. There are 99 percent of the people in the world who can make that play. To get it through that window at that time in rhythm.”But making that pass is what Paul does. And, making that shot, well, that’s what Crawford does.Crawford scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, doing just enough to keep the second unit competitive on a night when it didn’t have its best stuff. It was a reminder of how and what he can do — something he’s backed off of early this season.“It’s different, a different challenge. I know I’m the same player, but we have a better group,” Crawford said. “Instead of me attacking, it’s our group attacking as a unit. It’s a different challenge than I’ve experienced here, and I’m still figuring out when to be aggressive and when to just lead the group as the whole. That’s the balance.”And, early on Friday, the balance was off. He was being too passive.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *