|Date of game: 5/9/2014
Recap: LA Clippers vs. Oklahoma City
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook filled the stat sheet and the Oklahoma City Thunder surged in the fourth quarter to beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 118-112, in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series.
Durant totaled 36 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Westbrook had 23 points, eight boards and 13 assists. Serge Ibaka contributed 20 points for Oklahoma City, which has won the last two contests in the series.
Caron Butler went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter and provided nine of his 14 points in the final period.
"We did a good job of playing with poise throughout the game," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought we did a good job of staying together. In that fourth quarter, our defense went up another level and we made some big shots."
Blake Griffin notched 34 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers. Chris Paul chipped in 21 points and 16 assists. The Clippers lost despite turning the ball over only six times, but their downfall was defense.
The Thunder shot 55.7 percent from the field, including 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) in the fourth quarter.
"We obviously have to play defense better and I have to coach defense better," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "Neither team played a lot of defense tonight."
Jamal Crawford, who was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year on Thursday, totaled 20 points in a losing cause. DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
This marked the first time, regular season and playoffs, that the Clippers lost a game (35-1) at home when leading after three quarters.
Game 4 is slated for Sunday afternoon, again at Staples Center.
"I think we did a good job of weathering the 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 going to be probably the toughest game of the series."
Griffin's layup had the hosts within 108-107 with 2:33 remaining, but Westbrook then drained a 3-pointer from the top of the arc. Following a Paul missed 3, Durant sank a turnaround shot over Paul from the right wing to make it a 113-107 margin.
"We're used to getting stops in those situations, but we didn't tonight," Paul said.
Two free throws from Reggie Jackson made it 115-107 with 22.7 seconds left, essentially sealing OKC's victory.
In a game neither team led by double digits, the Clippers got 14 points from Griffin in the first to lead 33-29.
Both teams shot over 50 percent in the second. Paul's 3-pointer in the closing seconds gave LA a 63-61 halftime edge.
The contest was physical, especially in the second half. Griffin's nose was bloodied after he got hit in the face by Ibaka midway through the third quarter. A short time later, double technical fouls were called on LA's Matt Barnes and OKC's Kendrick Perkins.
Durant was whistled for fouling Crawford during a 3-point shot with 0.3 seconds left in the third. Crawford made all three attempts for a 90-86 lead for the Clippers, but the Thunder scored eight straight early in the fourth. Durant's 3-point play capped the burst for a 96-92 lead for OKC.Game Notes
Earlier Friday, the NBA named former Time Warner chairman and chief executive
officer Dick Parsons interim CEO of the Clippers ... Jackson had 14 points ...
Barnes scored 14 ... The Thunder held a 44-33 rebounding advantage ... Ibaka
was 9-of-10 from the field.