OKLAHOMA CITY( AP) — This was the Paul George that Thunder fans had been waiting for.
George scored 42 points and Oklahoma City snapped a four-game losing streak with a 120 -1 11 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.
It was George’s highest scoring performance since to intervene in the Thunder in an offseason trade with Indiana. He said his new teammates are starting to figure out how his game works.
“It really is just chemistry, ” he said. “When I get here, one of the talks we had about what was best with offense was the movement. Coach( Billy) Donovan was happy that he could utilize me in that situation of moving and get some flow in offense, so I’m comfy with that. It’s good for me to get going and move around a little bit.”
Russell Westbrook had 22 points and eight assists in the Thunder’s highest-scoring game of the season. Carmelo Anthony and Alex Abrines each scored 14 points.
Westbrook and Anthony induced it tough for Los Angeles to deal with George.
“It’s hard because they have so many alternatives, ” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “A lot of days you have the one-two alternative, they’ve got the one-two-three alternative. It’s tough.”
George attained 13 of 22 shootings and had nine rebounds and seven assists.
“I was just trying to stay in assault mode, ” he said. “If plays opened up and there was opportunities to find guys, I was trying to, but it just seems that a lot of the plays merely ended up me one on one with a big at the rim.”
Lou Williams scored 35 phases for the Clippers, and Blake Griffin had 17 points on 5-for-19 shooting. Los Angeles has lost four straight.
The Thunder led 63 -5 5 at halftime behind 21 points by George.
“All of the sudden, he got it running, ” Rivers said. “I thought that changed video games when he got it going. That stretched the floor some more.”
The Thunder continued their surge early in the third one-quarter. A 3-pointer by Anthony pushed Oklahoma City’s lead to 15. The Thunder increased their advantage to 20 before the Clippers chipped away late in the quarter to close to 94 -8 6 at the end of the period.
A 3-pointer by Austin Rivers tied it at 105 midway through the fourth, but the Thunder held the Clippers to one field goal in the final three minutes to regain control.
Clippers: G Jawun Evans, who played at nearby Oklahoma State last season, scored three points in 16 minutes . … G Patrick Beverley sat out with a sore right knee. F Danilo Gallinari missed the game with a strained left glute . … G Sindarius Thornwell got his first career start in place of Beverley and scored 10 points . … Williams hit a double-clutch shooting from half court to end the first one-quarter. He was called for a technical foul in the fourth.
Thunder: C Steven Adams missed video games with a right calf contusion. … Dakari Johnson got his first career start in Adams’ place and finished with nine phases. He was a G-League All-Star last season. … George hit a short jumper at the halftime buzzer. He was issued a technical foul in the third one-quarter . … G Andre Roberson had 11 rebounds.
Each of the Thunder’s wins has been by at least nine phases. All their losses have been by nine or fewer. Even with a 5-7 record, the Thunder have outscored their foes by 58 points this season.
Johnson on facing DeAndre Jordan in his first career start: “It was good. I only tried to go out there and be competitive, simply vie. He’s a very great player. I’m not scared of anybody, so I merely went out there and competed.”
Jordan finished with nine phases and 12 rebounds.
Griffin had five assists to outperform 2,000 in his career. He led the team in assistances, and the team finished with just 13.
Clippers: At New Orleans on Saturday night.
Thunder: Host Dallas on Sunday night.
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