LOS ANGELES (AP) — Amir Coffey had career-high 32 points and 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the exhausted Oklahoma City Thunder 138-88 on Sunday to end the regular season with a five-game winning streak.
The Clippers finished 42-40, a huge accomplishment after playing the entire season without injured superstar Kawhi Leonard, and with Paul George recently returning after missing 43 games with an elbow injury.
The Clippers rested George and Reggie Jackson, while Norman Powell took a leave of absence for maintenance after returning from a left foot injury earlier in the week. Marcus Morris was sick. Still, they matched their second-longest winning streak of the season in a set-up for the entry tournament that awaits them this week.
“We did a good job of playing the right way on both sides of basketball,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “The bench was really strong, 34 assists, moving bodies, that’s what we wanted to see before the inning game.”
Coffey wore a championship belt with “Big Moment Fella” inscribed across his chest after the game.
“I’m going to sleep next to him tonight,” he said. “I’ve always been a guy who tries to stay in the moment, but looking back over the last few years seeing my progression, it’s a good feeling. I have to keep working, I’m just starting.
Luke Kennard added 20 points, Brandon Boston Jr. scored 18 and Ivica Zubac had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, whose winning margin was the largest in franchise history. All nine of their players scored and the team made 18 three-pointers.
“Just victory is enough for me,” Lue said. “It’s not like we’re trying to introduce OKC. The guys just played really well.”
The Thunder floundered until the end. Three of their five starters played on 10-day contracts with much of the roster sidelined through injury. They dropped three in a row and five of the last seven to finish the season.
Zavier Simpson and Georgios Kalaitzakis each scored 17 points for Oklahoma City. Jaylen Hoard had 14 points and 15 rebounds.
“Coming to the Thunder and playing the last four games was a great opportunity,” Kalaitzakis said. “I’m grateful to the organization for giving me this opportunity and I have to keep going and get better and keep working hard and developing my game.”
Los Angeles started the loss early, hitting five straight 3-pointers to lead by 16 while shooting 62% in the first quarter.
The Clippers outscored the Thunder 18-5 midway through the second to go up 29. The Thunder closed to 66-51 at halftime on a 3-pointer by Vit Krejci.
The crowd jeered at Kalaitzakis after he stole the ball from Zubac at half court and missed a wide-open dunk in the third, when the Thunder were limited to 18 points.
The Clippers opened the third on an 18-4 run, including 16 straight points, and led 95-67 entering the fourth.
They ended the blowout by scoring 43 points in the quarter, including 15 from Coffey.
Thunder: Finished 12-29 on the road. … he shot 9 of 34 from 3-point range. … He was outrebounded 57-40.
Clippers: Coffey’s seven 3-pointers were also a career high. … he scored his 11th consecutive winning season, the longest active streak in the league. … The bench outscored the Thunder’s reserves 52-8. … Zubac surpassed 3,000 points in his career. … Series of the season won, 2-1.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Thunder: Return home for the summer, having finished the season with a 24-58 record.
Clippers: In Minnesota on Tuesday in the play-in tournament. The winner gets the No. 7 seed and a first-round playoff series with the Memphis Grizzlies.
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