In a game that boasted the top points-per-game, assists-per-game and rebounds-per-game players in Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, it promised to be a lively encounter at The Chesapeake Energy Arena as The Oklahoma City Thunder welcomed The LA Clippers to town and so it proved:
A high scoring match it turned out to be, although not quite the result the home fans would have been hoping for as Chris Paul top scored with 32, eclipsing leading point scorer and OKC favourite Kevin Durant in the process. Paul's 32 helped the Clippers to a 122-105 victory to take a 1-0 series lead.
Paul's score inluded a career-high eight three-pointers and 10 assists on the night the road side put the Donald Sterling situation behind them for good. The owner has been permanently banned from the league following racial comments and his side seem to be using it as motivation.
A strong first half saw the Clippers ahead by 17 and they extended the lead by nine in the third to lead by 26 going into the final period. Despite a stronger period, the Thunder could only remove nine from the margin and went down by 17 in their worst loss since moving to Oklahoma City.
Durant could only manage 25 and Russell Westbook 29 as the Thunder tasted defeat. Game two takes place on Wednesday night and the home side will be hoping they can turn things around and level the scores before taking to the road in games three and four.
The other match-up in the west saw the San Antonio Spurs use the home court advantage well, cruising to a 116-92 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers and taking a 1-0 series lead in the process.
The Spurs were favourites coming in to the game, boasting a 32-9 record at home this season, and they lived up to that expectation at The AT&T Center on Tuesday night. Tony Parker scored 33 for the Spurs and with Kawhi Leonard (16) and Tim Duncan (12) following that up, the home side were comfortable throughout.
The Spurs had opened up a gap too big to bridge by the halfway stage, leading 65-39 and never looked back from there. LaMacrus Aldridge rediscovered his shooting boots with a double double (32 and 14 rebounds) and Damian Lillard 17, but the slow first half had taken it's toll.
Game two will take place on Thursday night with the Spurs hoping to extend their lead before taking to the road on Saturday in game three.
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