Thunder fend off Clippers, sweep season series
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Russell Westbrook's baseline jumper with 26.7 seconds remaining gave Oklahoma City just enough breathing room as the Thunder held on for a 108-104 decision over the Los Angeles Clippers en route to sweeping the season series.
Westbrook finished with 29 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for the Thunder, who bounced back from a last-second defeat at Denver on Friday.
Kevin Durant paced all scorers with 35 points to go along with nine boards and four assists and Serge Ibaka added 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the victory.
"A physical game, both teams competed at a high intensity," Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks said. "It came down to defense. We were able to make plays at the end and won the game."
Chris Paul scored 26 points, dished out eight helpers and pulled down six rebounds for the Clippers, who had a four-game winning streak come to an end. Blake Griffin had 20 points and nine boards and Jamal Crawford also scored 20 in defeat.
Crawford's 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1 1/2 minutes left put the Clippers ahead by one and ignited the home crowd. Not to be outdone, following a timeout, Westbrook calmly drove through the left side of the lane for a tough basket to put the Thunder ahead by one.
The visitors forced a missed shot on the next Los Angeles possession before Ibaka connected on a crucial three-point play to make it 104-100 with one minute to play. Crawford made two free throws to get the Clips within two, but Westbrook, a California native, drilled the dagger corner jumper which proved to be the difference-maker.
Westbrook's steal-and-slam late in the fourth put the visitors ahead by seven, but the Clippers weren't done just yet. Matt Barnes brought them right back with two wide-open 3-pointers from the right corner -- in between a Ibaka dunk -- to get within 99-96 with 1:52 to play.
Griffin, however, seemed to be injured on the made 3-pointer as he fell to the ground. After watching a replay via video, the officials determined that Ibaka had swung aggressively to hit Griffin in the lower portion of his body and was given a flagrant foul. Griffin made 1-of-2 from the line, but Los Angeles got the ball back which eventually led to Crawford's clutch triple.
The Clippers trailed 87-75 early in the fourth, but got right back in the contest with a 10-0 spurt capped off by Paul's floating jumper to get within two.
"We fouled them too many times and we turned the ball over too many times," Los Angeles coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We had the opportunities, but couldn't convert when had to. The turnovers was the difference."
The Thunder led by as many as 19 with under four minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Clippers, though, woke up to close the stanza on a 17-7 run to get within 82-73.
Griffin helped Los Angeles end the third on a strong note as he rejected Nick Collison's dunk attempt. That led to Paul's three-point play as time expired to head into the fourth with momentum. Paul had 14 alone in the third.
Oklahoma City led at the break, 54-41, and increased its advantage to 68-51 around the midway point of the third quarter.
Westbrook and Durant accounted for 24 of the team's 27 first-quarter points while the Clippers had 20 after one.
"A good road win," Westbrook added. "A physical game with a playoff atmosphere. We did a great job of executing at the end."
Oklahoma City is 17-12 on the road this season ... The Thunder scored nine of the game's final 13 points ... Oklahoma City shot 25-of-34 from the free throw line compared to 19-of-22 for the Clippers ... Paul made 9-of-9 from the charity stripe ... The Thunder had 48 points in the paint.
03/03 19:06:05 ET