LOS ANGELES — The Clippers are searching for defensive intensity under new coach Doc Rivers. They found it for the final 24 minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Blake Griffin had 22 points and 12 rebounds after being involved in a first-half scuffle that resulted in two ejections, sparking Los Angeles to a 111-103 victory Wednesday night.
“You would have to say it woke us up a little bit,” J.J. Redick said. “It hurt both teams.”
Serge Ibaka of the Thunder and Matt Barnes of the Clippers were ejected, and Griffin received a technical foul for his part in the altercation with 6 seconds left in the second quarter.
“Just a little extra after the play,” Griffin said.
Kevin Durant had 33 points, making 15 of 17 free throws, and 10 assists to lead the Thunder, who had won four straight. Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 10 assists.
“They just beat us,” Durant said. “We’ve got to finish the game out. No excuses, no matter who’s out there. Of course we’d rather have Serge out there, but it didn’t happen like that. We still had a chance to win the game.”
Jamal Crawford scored 20 points off the bench for the Clippers, who had six players in double figures while winning their third in a row. DeAndre Jordan and Redick scored 15 each, and Chris Paul had 14 points and 16 assists.
The fireworks began when Griffin was trying to put the ball up and his arms and Ibaka’s became entangled. Barnes shoved Ibaka hard in the chest. Griffin kept trying to get at Ibaka as players from both teams formed a scrum.
“I didn’t think it was going to turn into that,” Griffin said. “After I turned around and heard the oohs and aahs and knew we were into something.”
Ibaka cocked his right fist, but didn’t take a swing as Barnes smiled at him. As he left the court, Barnes reached over a barrier, grabbed his young son and held his hand as he walked off. Later, Barnes left the locker room before the media was allowed in.
“I didn’t see the video after that, so I will try to make sure I watch it,” Ibaka said. “I was disappointed, but I will learn from my mistake. I don’t want to think about it no more.”
Durant made the free throw on Griffin’s technical and Westbrook hit a 3-pointer to give the Thunder a 62-53 lead at the break.
“I have no complaints about what happened,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We didn’t lose the game because of that incident, trust me. The bottom line is they outplayed us.”
The exchange certainly riled up the Clippers.
Down by 10 early in the third, they rallied with a 14-2 spurt to go up 74-71, their first lead since the opening quarter. Redick had a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer, Paul had two free throws and a basket and Griffin capped it with five straight points.
He stole the ball and dribbled down the court, driving in for a layup. After a timeout, Durant lost the ball and Griffin scored again while getting fouled. He made the free throw.
The Thunder were outscored 30-16 in the third, when they shot 29 percent and got outrebounded 13-7.
“What I loved about the third quarter, every single guy came in and did something,” Rivers said.
During the Clippers’ run, Ryan Gomes, Nick Collison and Thabo Sefolosha all picked up their fourth fouls. Gomes started the second half in place of Ibaka.
Los Angeles shot 7 of 8 on free throws late in the period to take an 83-78 lead into the fourth.
The Clippers forced turnovers and contested shots in the fourth when they weren’t scoring. They opened with an 8-0 run to take a 91-78 lead on the strength of their bench shooting.
The Thunder couldn’t get a sustained run together while turning the ball over against a team they swept in three games last season.
After his ejection, Barnes used a derogatory term in a profane tweet that began “I love my teammates like family,” but went on to seemingly suggest he was tired of backing them up because his actions “cost me money.”
“I think he was very emotional,” Rivers said, adding that he wasn’t a fan of the derogatory term that Barnes used.
Griffin, Paul and Redick all described Barnes as a good teammate.
“I don’t know what he meant by it, but I know what his intent is for his teammates,” Redick said.
Paul said he hadn’t seen the tweet.
“I’ll have to read that and analyze it myself,” he said. “We won, though.”
Griffin also said he hadn’t seen Barnes’ tweet, adding, “He does a great job of sticking up for us. We appreciate what Matt does for us.”
Jared Dudley, who had 10 points, said he would have done the same thing for Barnes.
“He’s a really tough guy and sometimes he wants that (from) everybody,” Dudley said. “It goes both ways. We’ve got to be a little bit tougher and he’s got to be a little bit smarter.”
Ibaka had 13 points on perfect shooting before his ejection. He hit all six shots from the field and was 1 of 1 from the line. Barnes was scoreless in just under 8 minutes.
76ERS 123, ROCKETS 117, OT
PHILADELPHIA — Tony Wroten had his first career triple-double, James Anderson scored a career-high 36 points and Spencer Hawes made the go-ahead basket with 34 seconds left in overtime to help Philadelphia beat Houston.
Wroten had career highs with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in his first start for injured rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who didn’t play because of a bruised left arch.
Jeremy Lin scored 34 points, making a career-best nine 3-pointers. Dwight Howard had 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Chandler Parsons added 22 points for Houston.
Lin started for James Harden, who was out of Houston’s lineup because of a bruised left foot.
TIMBERWOLVES 124, CAVALIERS 95
MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Love had 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Ricky Rubio added 16 points and a career-high 16 assists, and Minnesota beat Cleveland Cavaliers.
Corey Brewer scored 27 points for Minnesota while filling in for Kevin Martin, who was out with an illness, and the Timberwolves outscored Cleveland 29-6 in transition points to run the Cavaliers out of the building.
Kyrie Irving scored 20 points on 8-for-17 shooting and survived a nasty collision in the first quarter for the Cavaliers. Anderson Varejao had 13 points and five rebounds starting for Andrew Bynum, who missed the game for personal reasons. The Cavs fell to 0-6 on the road this season.
SPURS 92, WIZARDS 79
SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker had 16 points, leading six Spurs in double figures, and San Antonio rolled over Washington.
Boris Diaw had 15 points, Kawhi Leonard added 13 points, and Manu Ginobili and Marco Belinelli each had 10 for San Antonio. Tiago Splitter had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Martell Webster had 21 points, Bradley Beal added 19 points and John Wall had 14 points and eight assists for Washington, which has lost three straight.
The Spurs held a double digit lead for all but about 15 minutes in remaining undefeated at home.
KNICKS 95, HAWKS 91
ATLANTA — Carmelo Anthony continued his success against Atlanta by scoring 25 points and New York regrouped after blowing a 17-point lead.
The Knicks, relying on 3-pointers, led 47-30 in the second period. New York made only 5 of 25 shots from the field while being outscored 23-10 in the third period, leaving the Hawks with a 68-65 lead.
Andrea Bargnani had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. had 14 points for New York.
Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 25 points and eight assists. Al Horford had 23 points.
RAPTORS 103, GRIZZLIES 87
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rudy Gay scored 23 points in his return to Memphis and Kyle Lowry added 21 to help Toronto beat the Grizzlies.
Gay, who was part of a Jan. 30 trade that sent him to the Raptors after spending his first 6-plus years in the league with Memphis, was 8 of 18 from the field, but missed his first four shots in the game.
DeMar DeRozan scored 13 of his 18 points in the first quarter.
Mike Conley led Memphis with 29 points. Marc Gasol had 18 points while Zach Randolph finished with 10 points. Gasol and Randolph each grabbed 10 rebounds.
BOBCATS 89, CELTICS 83
BOSTON — Al Jefferson had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead Charlotte over Boston, snapping the Celtics’ four-game winning streak.
Gerald Henderson had 13 points, Jeff Taylor 12 and Anthony Tolliver 11 for Charlotte, which ended a two-game skid.
Jeff Green led Boston with 19 points and Jordan Crawford had 16 points and six assists.
Both teams were without key big men. Celtics forward Jared Sullinger was out with a bruised right knee and Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts missed the game for personal reasons. He’s expected to play Friday night in Cleveland.
It was Bobcats coach Steve Clifford’s second game back after two stents were placed in his heart last week.
MAGIC 94, BUCKS 91
ORLANDO, Fla. — Arron Afflalo scored a career-high 36 points, Nikola Vucevic added 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Orlando rallied to beat Milwaukee and snap a three-game skid.
Afflalo was 8 of 11 from beyond the arc, adding six assists and eight rebounds. Maurice Harkless and Victor Oladipo had 10 points apiece for the Magic.
O.J. Mayo scored 25 points for the Bucks, losers of three straight. Caron Butler added 20 and Khris Middleton had 19. Butler injured his left shoulder with just over two minutes left and didn’t return to the game.
Afflalo scored 29 points in the second half, including 11 straight for the Magic in the fourth quarter. He ended the game with an assist to Vucevic with 9.2 seconds to play that gave Orlando a 94-91 lead. Afflalo then stole the ball from Mayo as the Bucks scrambled to attempt a game-tying 3-pointer.
KINGS 107, NETS 86
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Marcus Thornton scored a season-high 24 points after losing his starting spot to rookie Ben McLemore, and Sacramento snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Brooklyn.
Greivis Vasquez had 17 points and 12 assists, and Isaiah Thomas added 19 points, six assists and six rebounds to help the Kings blow out Brooklyn. Sacramento led by 18 points in the second quarter and 23 late in the third before holding off a brief Brooklyn rally in the fourth.
Brook Lopez had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Deron Williams finished with 13 points and seven assists as the Nets lost their third straight game.
JAZZ 111, PELICANS 105
SALT LAKE CITY — Gordon Hayward had 27 points and 10 assists, and Richard Jefferson added 22 points to help Utah claim its first victory of the season.
Hayward scored 22 points in the second half and the Jazz erased a 16-point deficit to put an end to their worst start in 39 years.
Derrick Favors made a key layup with 24 seconds remaining and Jefferson added three free throws in the final minute to clinch the victory.
When Marvin Williams hit a 3-pointer to make it 104-100, Jazz fans leapt to their feet and the Utah reserves bounced around and high-fived like college players in a postseason tournament.
Anthony Davis had 29 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans, who dropped all three games on their Western road swing.
NUGGETS 111, LAKERS 99
DENVER — Timofey Mozgov matched his career high with 23 points, and Denver beat Los Angeles to win consecutive games for the first time this season.
First-year Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, who was part of five championship teams with the Lakers as a player and assistant coach, beat Los Angeles in his first matchup against his former team.
Kenneth Faried added 21 points and Ty Lawson had 19 for the Nuggets, who won their fourth straight against the Lakers, their longest winning streak against Los Angeles since 1994.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 25 points.
TRAIL BLAZERS 90, SUNS 89
PORTLAND, Ore. — Damian Lillard hit a layup with 6.5 seconds left to give Portland a victory over Phoenix.
The Suns led by as many nine in the second half before the Trail Blazers rallied. Wesley Matthews made a 3-pointer and Robin Lopez tipped in a shot to put Portland in front 88-87 with 1:35 left.
Miles Plumlee’s layup gave Phoenix the lead again, but Eric Bledsoe missed a shot with 11.9 seconds remaining. Lillard drove to the hoop and scored, and Markieff Morris missed a chance at a tip-in for the Suns at the buzzer.
Lillard, last season’s Rookie of the Year, finished with 11 points and eight assists in the Blazers’ fourth straight win. Lopez had 13 points and 15 rebounds, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Bledsoe scored 23 for the Suns, who defeated Portland in the season opener.