Thunder top Clippers in duel of NBA powerhouses
Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 26 to lead the Thunder 109-97 over the Clippers.
In a matchup between the NBA’s two top teams, the Thunder improved to a league-best 33-9 and expanded their lead in the Western Conference standings to one game over the Clippers, who fell to 32-11.
The Clippers, who were without Chris Paul due to a bruised right knee cap, led much of the first quarter before giving up the lead for good early in the second.
Oklahoma City pulled away to a 77-61 lead in the third on a 3-pointer by Thabo Sefolosha and a fast break dunk by Westbrook. The Clippers cut it to nine on seven straight points, including four by Crawford, before the Thunder scored the last five points to lead 82-68 going into the fourth.
Grant Hill and Jamal Crawford combined to score seven points in a row to start the fourth as the Clippers closed in at 82-75.
But Durant connected three 3-point shots, as Westbrook and Ibaka added one trey each to extend the Thunder’s lead to 99-82 — their largest of the game. Three of those 3′s came after the Thunder grabbed offensive rebounds.
Having beaten the Clippers in overtime in November, the Thunder won the season series, with one game remaining on Jan. 22.
Blake Griffin had 31 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers who play 10 of their next 11 on the road.