EditorsNote: Added Williams' assist total in 2nd graf; Added Paul's years with Clippers in 6th graf
Paul George's 3-pointer with 25.9 seconds remaining was the difference, and the Los Angeles Clippers held off the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder for a 90-88 victory on Monday night.
Montrezl Harrell had 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers. George, who scored 70 total points in his previous two games, finished with 18 points and seven rebounds against his former club. Los Angeles center Ivica Zubac added 12 points and 10 rebounds while Lou Williams chipped in 11 points and nine assists.
Chris Paul scored 22 points and recorded four steals, and Danilo Gallinari had 14 points for the Thunder. However, Gallinari missed a potential game-winning shot near the end. Dennis Schroder scored 12 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 11 for Oklahoma City.
Clippers star Kawhi Leonard missed his third consecutive game due to a left knee contusion.
It was the first time the two clubs met after completing a blockbuster trade in July, when the Clippers acquired George for Gallinari, Gilgeous-Alexander and several draft picks.
Paul spent six seasons with the Clippers from 2011-17, but played the past two seasons with the Houston Rockets.
Gallinari's 3-pointer tied the score at 86 with 52.5 seconds remaining. Two free throws by Paul gave Oklahoma City a two-point lead with 31.3 seconds left before George delivered the game-winner.
Gallinari was initially ruled to have been fouled with 7.3 seconds remaining, but the call was overturned by the officials after the Clippers challenged it. Gallinari then failed to convert a jumper near the top of the key with four seconds left. George, who grabbed the rebound, subsequently hit a free throw for the final point.
Both clubs struggled on offense, with the Clippers shooting 40.2 percent to 37.3 percent for the Thunder. Los Angeles made just 27.8 percent of its 3-point tries compared to 25.9 percent for Oklahoma City.
A 12-5 surge to end the third lifted the Clippers to a 66-64 lead. Oklahoma City was hurt by nine turnovers to four for Los Angeles in the quarter.
The Thunder led 47-42 at the break behind Paul's 13 points. The visitors outscored the Clippers 30-19 in the second quarter.
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, who sat out the previous two games with a sore left calf, returned and scored nine points, all on 3-pointers.
Oklahoma City fell to 0-5 on the road while the Clippers improved to 8-1 at home.
--Field Level Media