Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

November 22, 2013

Shooting on full display in Thunder's win over Clippers

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder put on one of their best shooting displays of the season Thursday night — and their fans seem to be following the team’s cue.

Durant scored 28 points and the Thunder made 51.9 percent in beating the Los Angeles Clippers 105-91. But that pales in comparison to what Oklahoma City fans are shooting this week during a second-quarter promotion at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

For the second straight game, and the fifth time during the 2013 calendar year, a Thunder fan hit a half-court heave to win $20,000 in a contest sponsored by MidFirst Bank.

Brad Brucker, a 33-year-old business teacher at Piedmont High School, made the money shot two days after another fan, Cameron Rodriguez, hit from midcourt in a win over Denver.

As Brucker left the floor, he was greeted and congratulated by recording stars Beyonce and Jay-Z, who watched from courtside seats next to Durant’s family.

Brucker said the experience “didn’t feel real.”

Durant joked after the game that “we might go broke after these guys, they’re hitting every half-court shot.” But he added it was fun watching fans hit those shots.

Durant also enjoyed watching the Thunder post their second-best shooting outing of the season and lead all the way against Los Angeles in a matchup of Western Conference powers.

Oklahoma City has won its first five home games of the season for the first time since 2004-05, when the franchise was in Seattle.

Durant also had eight assists. Serge Ibaka added 17 points and three blocked shots.

“I thought that was probably as well as we can execute a game plan and execute on both ends of the floor, on offense and defense in the second half,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “Seventeen assists and five turnovers in the second half, and we made them miss a lot of shots. I thought we played good throughout the game, but really did a great job in the second half.”

The Clippers beat the Thunder 111-103 in Los Angeles on Nov. 8. But they missed their first seven shots in the rematch, fell into a quick 10-point hole and never dug themselves out of it.

Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers noticed early that something was amiss.

“In the first quarter, you could see we didn’t have it offensively,” Rivers said. “Everybody was kind of missing shots. We didn’t have any rhythm, no speed. When we don’t have any pace by anybody, you know that’s not a good sign. We didn’t tonight.”

There were a couple of bright spots for the Clippers. In his return to his hometown, Blake Griffin scored 27 points on 12-for-23 shooting and also had 10 rebounds. He’s had a 20-10 double in 10 of the last 12 games, and has posted an NBA-high 100 such games since the start of the 2010-11 season.

The Clippers’ Chris Paul also extended his NBA-record streak while finishing with 17 points and 12 assists. He has opened the season with 13 straight games in which he’s had at least 10 points and 10 assists. Magic Johnson held the previous record of 11 such games to open the 1990-91 season.

“We just couldn’t get it going, honestly,” Rivers said. “I thought our offense — our defense let us down by the end — but at halftime, I thought it was still more of our offense. The way we’ve played the last couple of games, with the ball movement and all that - that was all gone tonight.”

Los Angeles pulled within 81-75 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, but Nick Collison’s three-point play and a jumper by Jeremy Lamb put the Thunder up by 11.

Baskets by Los Angeles’ Ryan Hollins and Jamal Crawford made it a seven-point game, but Oklahoma City scored the next seven points and took its biggest lead of the game to that point at 93-79 on a free throw by Lamb with 7:11 left.

Los Angeles didn’t cut the margin below double digits the rest of the game.

Crawford scored 18 points for the Clippers, who hurt themselves at the free-throw line, finishing 7-of-15. Russell Westbrook scored 12 and Lamb added 11 for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City took advantage of the Clippers’ early shooting woes to take a 13-3 lead just over five minutes into the game. Los Angeles struggled at times against the Thunder’s interior defense, as Ibaka and rookie Steven Adams each blocked a pair of shots in the first-half.

Oklahoma’s City led by 13 before taking a 51-43 edge at halftime.

Griffin, limited to six points in the first half, scored seven straight baskets for the Clippers during the third quarter and his 20-foot jumper pulled Los Angeles within 68-62. The Thunder rebuilt its lead with a basket from Kendrick Perkins, a three-point play from Durant and a 17-foot jumper by Ibaka.

Text Only
Sports
  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yurcich ready for second season

    With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.

    July 28, 2014

  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Really one true champion?

    I decided to spare the colleagues in front of me – and myself from making a scene – by holding back flipping my table at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.
    I had become exhausted by the constant use and misrepresentation by the Big 12 with their moniker of “One True Champion.” If they are going to live with the slogan, then they need to abide by that slogan.
    Perhaps its a simple case that they are keeping constant with the poor math of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hill expected to be used in multiple facets

    The picture became a little clearer recently of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 23, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Stocks