1-2 punch gives Thunder 2-1 lead

2014-05-10T00:00:00Z 1-2 punch gives Thunder 2-1 leadThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 10, 2014 12:00 am  • 

LOS ANGELES — Kevin Durant scored 36 points, Russell Westbrook added 23 and the Oklahoma City Thunder outplayed the Los Angeles Clippers in the fourth quarter for a 118-112 victory Friday night and a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal.

Serge Ibaka added 20 points and Westbrook had 13 assists for the Thunder in a game that neither team ever led by double digits.

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.

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

Game 4 is Sunday at Staples Center.

The Thunder shot 56 percent, and controlled the paint and fastbreak points.

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. Former Clipper Caron Butler hit three three-pointers to give his team the lead and then extend it.

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.

Griffin held a towel to his gushing nose and changed his jersey during a timeout.

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 three-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.

Pacers 85, Wizards 63: In Washington, Paul George had his best game of the series with 23 points and eight rebounds, Roy Hibbert was again a factor by scoring 14 points, and Indiana held the Wizards to a franchise-low playoff total.

The Pacers lead the Eastern Conference semifinal 2-1.

Washington made only 24 field goals, another team postseason worst, on 73 attempts, 32.9 percent. That included 4 of 16 on threes, and it didn’t get much better on free throws, where the Wizards were 11 of 21.

So much for the bandwagon-hopping in Washington. There were boos on occasion, and most of the crowd started heading to the exits after George’s three with 3½ minutes left made it 75-58.

“Listen, we don’t worry about if we’re looking good for TV. The other teams can do that, can fill that void with fancy basketball. We don’t worry about that,” Indiana forward David West said.

“We’re OK with this. We can win games in the 80s.”

Game 4 is Sunday in Washington.

Rim shots

LOS ANGELES — The NBA on Friday announced the appointment of Richard Parsons as interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Formerly a chairman with Citigroup and Time Warner, Parsons will represent the Clippers as the franchise goes through the process of finding a new owner, on the heels of Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to impose a lifetime ban on team owner Donald Sterling.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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