Clippers pick up win in feisty encounter in LA.
With two of the favourites for the Western Conference meeting at the Staples Center on Wednesday night with a vast array of talent on show, it promised much in the way of entertainment and highlights.
However, with a recent history of things getting slightly heated, it was another feisty affair between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Nevertheless, with the fireworks on hold in the second half, the hosts were able to put their new-found defensive intensity under Doc Rivers to practice, and ultimately secured a 111-103 win over their rivals.
Blake Griffin led from the front with a double-double (22 points and 12 rebounds), but the starting line-up for the Clippers all produced and ended the game in double figures.
In addition, as is becoming a consistent source from the bench, Jamal Crawford added a further 20 as he went 7-of-13 from the field.
The Thunder, who had Serge Ibaka ejected from the game for a tangle with Matt Barnes, had Kevin Durant end with a game-high 33 points, while Russell Westbrook supported him well with 19.
While there were signs of their team-mates stepping up and taking some of the scoring responsibility away from them, it wasn’t enough to out-do the Clippers.
Elsewhere in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs continued to pick up wins and move away at the top of the standings after their 92-79 win over the Washington Wizards.
Clearly determined to bounce back immediately from the disappointment of last season, Gregg Popovich’s men have jumped to an 8-1 record to start the season and took their winning streak to six games and in the process were able to rest some of their key players.
Over in the East, the New York Knicks put an end to their recent struggles for the time being after holding on to a 95-91 win over the Atlanta Hawks, with Carmelo Anthony (25) and Andrea Bargnani (20) helping to improve them to 3-4 for the season.
However, there was no sign of improvement for their city rivals the Brooklyn Nets who slipped to 2-5 after their 107-86 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Given the influx of new players over the summer, it will undoubtedly take new coach Jason Kidd some time to get his team to gel, but the early signs aren’t promising if they hope to secure that all-important high seeding which will benefit them in the post-season.
Elsewhere, there were impressive wins for the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors over the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzles respectively, but the winning streak is over for Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics as they fell to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Milwaukee Bucks 91-94 Orlando Magic
Houston Rockets 117-123 Philadelphia 76ers
Charlotte Bobcats 89-83 Boston Celtics
Toronto Raptors 103-87 Memphis Grizzlies
Cleveland Cavaliers 95-124 Minnesota Timberwolves
New York Knicks 95-91 Atlanta Hawks
Washington Wizards 79-92 San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Lakers 99-111 Denver Nuggets
New Orleans Pelicans 105-111 Utah Jazz
Phoenix Suns 89-90 Portland Trail Blazers
Brooklyn Nets 86-107 Sacramento Kings
Oklahoma City Thunder 103-111 Los Angeles Clippers