(Los Angeles, CA)—
The Oklahoma City Thunder out-slugged the Los Angeles Clippers 118-112
to take a 2-1 lead in their NBA Western Conference semifinal playoff series Friday night. The Thunder gave up a bunch of first half points, but mostly matched the Clippers basket-for-basket and trailed 63-61 at the break. In the second half, the Thunder tightened up their defense and cut their all-stars loose.
Kevin Durant validated his MVP trophy again with a spectacular night. KD finished with 36 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. And Russell Westbrook just missed another “triple-double” ending up with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 13 assists. Another couple of guys added *huge* buckets in the final half, Serge Ibaka tossed in 20 points hitting 9-10 shots from the field and Caron Butler, who played for the Clippers just last season, hit some crucial shots from the outside to wind up with 14 points and Reggie Jackson also chipped in with 14 off the bench.
Former Sooner legend Blake Griffin was magnificent for LA, finishing with 34 points and 8 rebounds. But the Thunder came up with the big defensive plays at the end in easily the most physical game of the series so far. With the road victory, the Thunder overcame several obstacles: it’s the 1st time the Clippers have lost a home game this season when leading going into the 4th quarter (now 35-1). It’s also the 1st time the Thunder has won playoff game #3 on the road in a series tied at 1-1 since moving to OKC from Seattle (Thunder was 0-4 in that situation).
San Antonio leads the series 2-1 with game #4 set for Tuesday night, also in downtown OKC.”