Published February 22, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY – Jeff Green scored 22 points, Kevin Durant added 21 and the Oklahoma City Thunder spoiled Blake Griffin's return to his hometown by beating the Los Angeles Clippers 111-88 on Tuesday night.
Griffin made a run at his first career triple-double but came up two assists shy. He followed his slam dunk title and rare All-Star appearance by a rookie by amassing 28 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, but the Clippers sorely missed him when he was out of the game.
Los Angeles gave up a 16-0 run with Griffin on the bench at the end of the first half with three fouls, and he was out again when the Thunder put it away early in the fourth quarter.
The Clippers fell to 2-7 on their 11-game road trip that was interrupted by the All-Star break.
James Harden added 19 points off the bench and Russell Westbrook scored 13 for the Thunder, who snapped a four-game home losing streak against the Clippers dating back to the franchise's time in Seattle. Durant and Westbrook got the entire fourth quarter off.
Griffin logged his 47th double-double and matched his career high in assists.
He received a hearty ovation when he was the fourth Clippers starter introduced, but soon enough he was bringing on groans and boos from the crowd. He drew two fouls against Green in the first 72 seconds and scored the first eight points for Los Angeles.
Just past the midway point of the first quarter, Griffin had also drawn two fouls against Serge Ibaka — Green's replacement — and one apiece against Nenad Krstic and Nick Collison while racking up 12 points and five rebounds.
But eventually, the tables turned.
The game was tied at 44 when Griffin picked up his third foul with 4 minutes left in the first half and left the game. Krstic converted a three-point play to put the Thunder on top, and Oklahoma City reeled off the last 15 points of the quarter to take a 62-46 halftime lead after Daequan Cook's 3-pointer.
Griffin had the first three baskets as Los Angeles mounted a 14-6 comeback, getting within 76-67 on Eric Bledsoe's 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:34 left in the third quarter. But then the Clippers went 11 straight possessions without scoring — again with Griffin on the bench — and Oklahoma City scored 12 straight points.
Harden and Green started the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers, and Harden's second straight layup made it 88-67 with 8:44 to play.
By the time Griffin came back and threw down one of his highlight-reel dunks — a right-handed alley-oop slam — it hardly mattered. He picked up his eighth assist on Bledsoe's 3 with 3:43 left but was pulled with the rest of the Clippers' starters 20 seconds later.
Notes: The Clippers' Chris Kaman scored eight points in 20 minutes in his second game back after missing more than two months with a left ankle injury. ... Oklahoma City's 28 games left after the All-Star break rank second in the Western Conference, behind only Sacramento. Next up are road games at San Antonio and Orlando and then a Sunday home game against the Los Angeles Lakers. "We can't look ahead," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "If you do, it's overwhelming." ... Among those seated courtside were former Oklahoma football players Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham, Toronto Blue Jays World Series hero Joe Carter (an Oklahoma City native) and former Gov. Brad Henry.