Oklahoma City wins series 4-2 (Game 3 of 6)

Oklahoma City wins series 4-2

Game 1: Monday, May 5th
Game 2: Wednesday, May 7th
Game 3: Friday, May 9th
Game 4: Sunday, May 11th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 13th
Game 6: Thursday, May 15th

Thunder 118

(59-23, 25-16 away)

Clippers 112

(57-25, 34-7 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    10:30 PM ET, May 9, 2014

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    OKC 29 32 25 32118
    LAC 33 30 27 22112

    Top Performers

    Okc: K. Durant 36 Pts, 8 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Blk

    LAC: B. Griffin 34 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook combine for 59 as OKC goes up 2-1

    Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES -- Neither team budged through three tight quarters. Then the Thunder went to a smaller lineup in the fourth and the Clippers' defense shriveled.

    Oklahoma City couldn't be stopped in the final 12 minutes and went on to a 118-112 victory Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

    Kevin Durant scored 36 points, Russell Westbrook added 23 points and 13 assists, and Serge Ibaka, despite early foul trouble, had 20 points for the Thunder in a game that neither team ever led by double digits.

    The Thunder have won two straight since getting blown out by 17 points in Game 1 at home.

    "That loss definitely wasn't our brand of basketball," Durant said. "The first game they picked us apart. We don't want to get beat like that again."

    Blake Griffin scored 34 points, and Chris Paul added 21 points and 16 assists for the Clippers, who saw their four-point lead disappear for good early in the fourth quarter. Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford added 20 points.

    "They got everything," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "They got 3s, layups, key second shots. Down the stretch, they made every big play. We had shots, too, and they didn't go in. We put way too much pressure on our offense because our defense wasn't working."

    Oklahoma City led 113-107 on Durant's turnaround jumper with 1:23 left. It followed Westbrook's 3-pointer after the Clippers had closed within 108-107 when Griffin muscled in for a layup.

    "We did a good job of weathering storms throughout the game and sticking together," Durant said. "We're going to have to do that even more next game if we want to win. It's probably going to be the toughest game of the series."

    Game 4 is Sunday at Staples Center.

    The Thunder shot 56 percent, and controlled the paint and fastbreak points against a Clippers team that never got into their favored run-and-gun mode.

    "We stayed small and they had some tough decisions to make on who to put their big on," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "In the fourth quarter our defense went up another level. Russell was finding guys. Everybody chipped in to help us win."

    J.J. Redick, who got off to a hot start in Game 2, was held to five points on 1-of-6 shooting. DeAndre Jordan was never a factor for the Clippers either, with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Matt Barnes gave them a lift with 14 points.

    The Thunder gradually pulled away in the fourth, scoring eight straight points, including Durant's three-point play, to take the lead for good.

    "When it's time to score, we get the ball to Kevin and he does what he does," said Westbrook, who had eight rebounds, just missing his fourth triple-double in his past six playoff games.

    Former Clipper Caron Butler hit three 3-pointers to give his team the lead and then extend it. He had a leading nine rebounds. Every Thunder player pulled down at least one board to outrebound the Clippers for the third straight game, 44-33.

    "Early I thought we allowed too many easy baskets, dunks, layups," Griffin said. "We got to win the battle on the boards. We just did a poor job of putting a body on people."

    Emotions boiled in the third, with double technicals called on Barnes and Kendrick Perkins, who stared hard at each other. Perkins took a step toward Barnes but got pushed away by Westbrook. By then, Griffin was already bloodied. He got hit in the face by Ibaka, but the only call by the referees was 3 seconds on the Clippers.

    "We're both fighting for something. It's going to get chippy out there," Butler said. "We laid an egg in Game 1 but we came out fighting today. We had the right mindset and disposition."

    Griffin held a towel to his gushing nose and changed his jersey during a timeout. He took up his case with the referee before play resumed to no avail.

    "I took an elbow to the nose," he said. "When I asked him about it, he said I ran my face into his elbow, so I got to be careful where I put my face."

    The Clippers rallied at the end of the period, outscoring the Thunder 8-0 to take a 90-86 lead. They did it on free throws except for Griffin's basket. Reggie Jackson was called for a foul and a technical, and then Durant fouled Crawford on a 3-point attempt with less than a second left. He made all three.

    Neither team led by more than seven points in the first half, when the lead changed hands 14 times and there were seven ties. Ibaka had three fouls and Thabo Sefolosha two for the Thunder.

    Game notes

    Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling, attended the game. Her lawyer has said she wants to retain her financial interest in the team. ... Paul tied Elton Brand's franchise record for most double-doubles in the playoffs with his sixth. ... Paul and Durant earned double technicals late in the first half after using expletives. ... Clippers F Hedo Turkoglu, out with a hairline fracture in his lower back, was able to pull on his gym shorts Friday, but Rivers said it's not looking good for him to return. ... Earlier Friday, the NBA hired Dick Parsons as the Clippers' interim CEO. He is former chairman of Citigroup and Time Warner. Rivers said Parsons "is a very good hire." ... Rivers handed Crawford his Sixth Man of the Year trophy at center court before the game. ... Among the famous faces were Rihanna, former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer, Billy Crystal, producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, who pulled out his medal as the crowd cheered.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Research Notes

    Kevin Durant scored a playoff career-high 20 points from 10 feet and in during Game 3.
    It was in a losing effort, but Friday marked the 2nd time in Chris Paul's career that he had a playoff game with at least 20 points, 15 assists, and no turnovers. Since 1990, Magic Johnson is the only other player to accomplish the feat... he did so in Game 1 of the 1991 Western Conference Semis against the Warriors.
    The Thunder scored 52 points in the paint during Game 3, their most in a playoff game since their win in Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals against the Heat (56).
    Chris Paul scored or assisted on 55 of the Clippers' 102 points with him on the court. When Paul was on the bench, the Clippers shot 27% and were outscored by 10 points in six minutes.
    Matt Barnes has not been able to slow down the MVP. Durant went 6-of-10 for 14 points against Barnes in Game 3 and is 18-of-30 (60%) for 46 points in the series.
    From Elias: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are the first pair of teammates in NBA history to each total at least 260 points and 90 rebounds through the first 10 games of a single postseason.
    The Thunder are 0-4 in Game 3s on the road when the series is tied 1-1 since moving to Oklahoma City.
    Jamal Crawford wins his second Sixth Man of the Year Award, tied for the most dating back to when it was first handed out in 1982-83. He's the first to win the award with 2 different teams.
    The Clippers first season in Los Angeles came in 1984-85. During their first 27 seasons, they registered just 11 total playoff wins. Over the last 3 seasons (since acquiring Chris Paul), they have matched that mark.

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