Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/13

Game 1: Wednesday, November 13th
Game 2: Thursday, November 21st
Game 3: Sunday, February 23rd
Game 4: Wednesday, April 9th

Clippers 125

(38-20, 15-15 away)

Thunder 117

(43-14, 23-5 home)

    Coverage: ABC

    1:00 PM ET, February 23, 2014

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 28 44 27 26125
    OKC 32 34 27 24117

    Top Performers

    LAC: J. Crawford 36 Pts, 2 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    Okc: K. Durant 42 Pts, 3 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl

    Clippers-Thunder Preview


    Given Kevin Durant's spectacular season, many have already anointed him as the man to usurp LeBron James as MVP. And led by Durant's explosive scoring, the Oklahoma City Thunder have positioned themselves as one of the top challengers to end Miami's championship run.

    Then both Durant and the Thunder were humbled by the Heat in a deflating setback.

    Oklahoma City will try to bounce back from its worst loss in nearly three years Sunday when it hosts a Los Angeles Clippers team trying to avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season.

    The Thunder (43-13) have compiled the NBA's best record, while Durant leads all players in scoring with 31.4 points per game. He's been riding a particularly torrid stretch of late, averaging 35.3 over his last 23 contests.

    But both Durant and his squad were seemingly knocked down a peg in Thursday's 103-81 home loss to the Heat. Billed as a showdown between the league's top two players, Durant scored 28 points but was largely outshined by James, who scored 33 and set the tone with 16 in the first quarter alone as Miami started 13 of 14 from the floor.

    Meanwhile, Durant was just 1 for 5 with two points in the first 12 minutes as Oklahoma City fell behind 34-17 on the way to its most lopsided defeat since a 23-point loss at Orlando on Feb. 25, 2011. Thursday's result also ended the club's nine-game home winning streak.

    "When you don't have good rhythm, normally the three-ball can get you back into the game," said coach Scott Brooks, whose team was a season-worst 2 of 20 from beyond the arc.

    Durant was 1 for 6 from distance and is 5 for 22 over his last three contests.

    Russell Westbrook -- returning after missing 27 games following right knee surgery -- got off to a quick start with a breakaway dunk in the first minute. He finished with 16 points over 24 minutes, though he was just 4 of 12 from the field and had four turnovers compared to two assists.

    The Thunder have won four of five from the Clippers (37-20), but split two meetings this season in November with each team winning at home. Durant totaled 61 points and 18 assists and is averaging 30.8 points over his last nine matchups.

    Los Angeles fell to 14-15 away from home with a 102-96 loss at Memphis on Friday. The Clippers, who have dropped two in a row after taking a three-game winning streak into the All-Star break, shot 38.8 percent, their lowest mark in their last 24 contests.

    Blake Griffin had 28 points and 13 rebounds but was 10 of 21 from the floor after shooting 66.2 percent over his previous four games. Chris Paul was 4 of 13 and Los Angeles' reserves were a combined 1 for 10 while being outscored 43-7 by their Grizzlies counterparts.

    "It was just one of those games that we missed a lot of easy ones," said Griffin, who totaled 49 points and 22 rebounds over the first two meetings with Oklahoma City.

    Paul sprained his right thumb in the final seconds Friday but is expected to play.

    Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins is expected to be sidelined with a strained left groin he suffered in the third quarter versus Miami. Rookie Steven Adams will likely start in his place.

    Westbrook totaled 31 points on 12-of-31 shooting with eight turnovers in the first two meetings.

    The Thunder are 15-1 at home against Western Conference foes.


    Research Notes

    Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes combined for 33 points on 11-of-18 shooting (61%) from behind the arc Sunday, including a combined 9-of-13 on guarded 3-point attempts. Crawford (5-of-8 on guarded 3-pointers) and Barnes (4-of-5) entered the game shooting 33.5% on all 3-point attempts.
    Chris Paul created 30 points off 12 assists Sunday. According to player-tracking data, Paul leads the NBA with 25.1 points created by assists per game. Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes accounted for 10 of Paul's 12 assists.
    Kevin Durant had his ninth game with at least 40 points this season, scoring 16 of his 42 points on 11 drives to the basket. Durant more than doubled his per-game scoring average off drives on Sunday.
    The 34 fastbreak points allowed by the Thunder vs the Clippers is the most fastbreak points the Thunder have allowed in more than five years, since the Phoenix Suns had 37 against them on February 20, 2009.
    From Elias:
    With 1:39 remaining, and the Thunder trailing the Clippers by 1, Kevin Durant stepped to the line for 2 free throws... He missed both, Jamal Crawford hit a 3, and OKC never got closer than 2 the rest of the way. At that point, Durant was 10-for-10 in the game, and shooting better than 88% from the line this season. Given that percentage, the probability that he'd miss 2 consecutive free throws was just 1.4%. FROM ELIAS: Before that trip to the line, he had gone to the free throw line for 2 shots 1,725 times in his career, and missed both shots just 28 times, a rate of just 1.6%.
    Kevin Durant: 4th 30-Pt, 10-Ast game this season, 2nd in NBA behind Stephen Curry (6).
    Analysis: The Clippers' 120.9 offensive efficiency is the highest allowed by the Thunder in a game this season. The Clippers made more free throws (28) than the Thunder attempted (24).

    ESPN Stats & Information