Thunder rally to beat Clippers, take 2-1 lead


LOS ANGELES: Kevin Durant scored 36 points as Oklahoma City rallied to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 118-112 in game three of their second round NBA playoff series on Friday (Saturday in Manila).

Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 59 points for the Thunder who now lead the Western Conference series 2-1.

“We competed all game. We started out hot,” Durant said. “We just weathered the storm. Every run they made we kept fighting and we were able to make the last run.”

Durant also tallied eight rebounds and six assists while Westbrook had 23 points, eight rebounds and 13 assists.

Serge Ibaka scored 20 points for Oklahoma City, which has won the last two games in the best-of-seven series.

Caron Butler scored nine of his 14 points in the final quarter. He went three-for-five from three-point range in the fourth.

The Thunder shot 55.7 percent from the field on Friday, including 11-of-18 in the fourth quarter.

“We been together for awhile so our experience definitely helps,” said Durant, who was recently named league MVP. “We just try to take it one possession at a time and we will live with the results.”

Blake Griffin finished with 34 points and eight rebounds while Chris Paul added 21 points and 16 assists, for the Clippers whose downfall was a poor defense.

Los Angeles have also only made 16-of-53 three-point attempts in their last two games after going 15-of-29 from beyond the arc in game one.

Jamal Crawford tallied 20 points and DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Crawford was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year on Thursday.

This marked the first time this season that the Clippers lost a game (35-1) at home when leading heading into the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles has been playing these playoffs in the shadow of the controversy over racially charged comments by Clippers owner Donald Sterling that got the 80-year-old real estate tycoon banned for life from all NBA activities.

Game four is scheduled for Sunday (Monday in Manila) at Staples Center.



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