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Clippers' hopes fade in overtime against Thunder

Chris Paul's difficult night casts a pall in the Clippers' loss.

November 21, 2012|By Broderick Turner
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OKLAHOMA CITY — They all sat inside a quiet Clippers locker room with ice bags on their knees, all lamenting a 117-111 overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

No one seemed more upset about losing for the first time in seven games than Chris Paul.

Paul has carried the Clippers to victory many times since he arrived last season, but he couldn't deliver this time at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

He had just nine points. He missed 12 of his 14 shots. He turned the ball over four times.

He was in position to come up big again despite how poorly he had played, but Paul missed a game-winning shot in regulation, a shot that could have redeemed him and the Clippers in the second game of a four-game trip.

"This is a tough loss for everybody here because we know we should have won that game," Paul said. "We know it. I don't know if they know it.

"I think the frustrating part is we had an opportunity to win. Regardless what anybody says, it's going to be hard for us to win a game if I play that bad."

The Clippers had come back from nine points down in the fourth quarter and tied the score, 102-102, when Matt Barnes (19 points) made a hanging layup over Kendrick Perkins off an assist from Paul.

The Clippers then got a defensive stop, making Russell Westbrook (23 points) miss a tough shot.

Paul wanted the last shot even if "I couldn't throw the ball in the ocean" on this night.

He had missed his first seven shots and didn't make his first field goal until 3 minutes 19 seconds were left in the third quarter. He missed a driving layup with 1:51 left in the fourth quarter and the Clippers down by three points

But he wanted the ball in his hands anyway.

Paul indeed got the ball, but missed a 15-foot turnaround, sending the game into overtime.

"I got the shot that I wanted," Paul said. "It was just one of them nights. Everything was short. Every shot that I shot, I didn't have my legs and every shot that I shot was short. When that ball left my hand, I thought it was going in."

The tough night for Paul only got tougher in the overtime for the guard.

He recalled how he turned the ball over with 1:19 left in the overtime, leading to two free throws for Kevin Durant (35 points) after Paul fouled the Thunder All-Star forward.

That gave the Thunder a 112-107 lead that held.

"Oklahoma is a tough team coming in their building and facing them," Barnes said. "They went to the Finals last year and they're the best the West has. We felt like we put up a good fight. We didn't play that well, but still pushed them to overtime and made them work."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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