LOS ANGELES -- First came the fight, then the response.
And when the dust finally settled Wednesday in Los Angeles, the Clippers cleared a major hurdle by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-103, to beat their Western Conference nemesis for the first time in two seasons.
The catalyst, as it turns out, was a first half shoving match between Clippers forward Matt Barnes and Thunder forward Serge Ibaka that resulted in both players getting tossed from the game.
Barnes came to the defense of Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who got tangled up with Ibaka as they battled for a rebound, and shoved Ibaka to incite a skirmish under the Clippers basket.
The Clippers (6-3) trailed by six points at the time, but they turned it around from that point and by the end of the third quarter led 83-78.
They increased the lead to as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter.
Griffin had 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead six Clippers in double figures, with guard J.J. Redick and center DeAndre Jordan adding 15 points and guard Jamal Crawford coming off the bench to score 20 points.
Clippers guard Chris Paul didn't have a good night shooting, hitting just 5 of 15 shots, but he had 14 points and dished out 16 assists to go along with seven rebounds.
Paul is the first player in franchise history to have at least 10 points and 10 assists in each of the first nine games of a season.
The Thunder played without Kendrick Perkins, who is away from the team for two games mourning the death of his grandfather, and didn't have Ibaka for the entire second half.
Ibaka had 13 points at the time of his ejection, and his loss was a huge blow to the short-handed Thunder, which lost for the first time in four games.
Thunder (5-2) forward Kevin Durant had 33 points, hitting 15 of 17 free throws, and guard Russell Westbrook added 19 points.
But no other Thunder player reached double figures.
The Clippers out-rebounded Oklahoma City 50 to 35.
NOTES: Thunder G Russell Westbrook, who grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended UCLA, celebrated his 25th birthday Tuesday. "He's an old man now," joked Thunder coach Scott Brook. "He has an amazing ability to lead and he's done an amazing job so far this season. I'm excited about what he brings to this team." The Thunder were 4-0 going into Wednesday's game against the Clippers since Westbrook's return from knee surgery in early October. ... Clippers coach Doc Rivers reached out to Thunder C Kendrick Perkins -- who played for Rivers in Boston -- after the death of Perkins' grandfather. "Perk's very close to me and always will be," Rivers said. "We won together, and I've said it a hundred times but when you do something together it's like you had a blood transfusion. You're part of that person's life." Perkins was given permission by the Thunder to miss the next two games to be with family in Texas.