OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)—The Los Angeles Clippers turned in exactly the sort of performance Oklahoma City coach P.J. Carlesimo feared.
Carlesimo spoke before the game Wednesday night about the Clippers’ talent and the challenges that come with meshing so many new players as they are trying to do.
“There’s no question what they’re capable of doing,” he said. “I hope it takes them a little longer to figure it out.”
Mobley scored six points during a 14-2 run that saw the Clippers (2-9) cut a 15-point second-quarter deficit to three at halftime. He stayed hot in the third quarter, with 12 points coming during a 23-4 spurt that put Los Angeles in front by 15. The Clippers weren’t threatened after that.
“Baron said before the game, ‘You’ve got to get focused.’ He told the whole team that,” Mobley said. “I was going to try to play as hard as I can and see what happens.”
Coach Mike Dunleavy was equally impressed with Mobley’s defense—the team had him with 15 deflections.
“He’s just a smart, veteran guy,” Dunleavy said. “I’ve never had anybody even think about getting 15, so that was pretty strong.”
Kaman had four of the Clippers’ nine blocked shots to go along with his strong play at the offensive end. He and Camby made it a long night inside for the Thunder (1-11), which got just 13 points from its starting frontcourt.
“We did a great job defensively as a team, getting stops late in the second quarter and the second half,” Kaman said. “I try to be aggressive when I can but still be smart about it.”
Oklahoma City, the worst-shooting team in the league, started out pretty well with a six-point lead after one quarter. The Thunder pushed it to 46-33 after consecutive baskets by Durant—a 3-pointer and a dunk over Mobley—and eventually led by 15 before falling apart.
The Thunder made just one basket and turned the ball over four times in the final three minutes of the half. The Clippers took advantage to outscore the Thunder 14-2, scoring on six of seven possessions.
“When people get after us, it affects our whole game and we have to work hard to correct that,” Carlesimo said. “We had a hard time tonight meeting the other team’s aggressiveness in the second half.”
After making half its shots in the first quarter, the Thunder returned to form in the second, going 8-for-19 from the floor. Oklahoma City was 11-of-34 in the second half to finish the game at 40 percent, right at its season average.
Los Angeles, just a fraction better than Oklahoma City in that category, wound up at 47 percent (46 of 97). The Clippers also forced 20 turnovers.
“They turned the intensity up on us and we didn’t do the same to them,” said forward Jeff Green, who had nine points in 33 minutes.
Mobley had four of his steals in the first quarter. … Thunder F Chris Wilcox returned after missing five games because of a strained right knee. He had four points and four rebounds in 13 minutes.