Westbrook steps up, Thunder hold off Clippers
by USA TODAY Sports, USA TODAY
Kevin Durant had 35 points and teammate Russell Westbrook had 29 and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off a furious rally by the Los Angeles Clippers to get a 108-104 win at the Staples Center Sunday afternoon.
When Jamal Crawford hit a three-pointer with 1 minute, 30 seconds left, it finished off a 7-0 run for the Clippers to give them a 100-99 lead.
But a quick layup by Westbrook, a couple missed shots by the Clippers and the Thunder quickly built up too much of a lead.
Clippers Blake Griffin fouled out with 59 seconds remaining. He finished with 20 points and nine rebounds. Point guard Chris Paul tried to take over the game, scoring eight of his 26 points in the fourth quarter.
With the win, the Thunder stay 1 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers in the Western Conference standings, and moved to within 2 1/2 of the idle San Antonio Spurs.
Serge Ibaka added 16 points as the Thunder ended a three-game road skid, bouncing back less than 48 hours after losing at Denver. They also completed a season sweep of Los Angeles, which is chasing Oklahoma City and NBA-best San Antonio out West.
The Clippers trimmed a 19-point deficit to 82-73 at the end of the third. Odom hit a 3-pointer and Paul completed a three-point play to give them the momentum and get the crowd back into the game.
They outscored the Thunder 12-5 to open the fourth. Paul had six points, including a driving layup and a floater in the lane over Durant. Griffin then fed Crawford in the right corner for a 3-pointer that left the Clippers trailing 91-90.
The Thunder responded with six straight points, but Los Angeles rallied again. Barnes hit back-to-back 3-pointers to get the Clippers within three. Ibaka chopped Griffin in the right hip before Barnes’ second 3 went in, with Griffin collapsing to the court and Ibaka receiving a flagrant-1 foul.
A video review confirmed the call and Griffin went to the line, missing the first and making the second. The Clippers retained possession and Crawford … [For more on Russell Westbrook steps up as Thunder hold off Clippers, click here.]