LOS ANGELES, Sporting Alert – The Los Angeles Clippers used a highlighting fourth-quarter run to take down the Oklahoma City Thunder in a thriller at STAPLES Center on Wednesday. Box score
Trailing by 16 points in the fourth quarter, the Clippers slowly chipped away at the lead with their bench players before finishing off the visitors down the stretch for a 103-98 win.
All-Star point guard Chris Paul had 21 points and 13 assists and big center DeAndre Jordan added 20 points and 18 rebounds for the LA Clippers (40-20), who used a remarkable 26-5 run to end the contest with after trailing by the double-digit score with 7:26 left.
“Our intensity was key,” Paul told reporters. “The defense picked up in the second half.
“I was out to start the fourth quarter, and Jamal Crawford looked at me and said: ‘We are going to get us back in this thing by the time you guys (the starters) get back in.’
“I don’t know if he’s a fortune teller, but he did it.”
JJ Redick, who hit four of his first six shots, suffered a lower back problem late in the first quarter, but managed to shake the bruise off to end with 16 points and Jamal Crawford scored 12 points off the bench in the win, as Doc Rivers side staged its largest comeback victory of the season.
Wesley Johnson recovered from a dreadful start to finish with 11 points, including eight straight points behind back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth quarter while Cole Aldrich had eight valuable points and six rebounds for the Clippers, who won three straight and four on the last five overall.
Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 30 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Russell Westbrook added 24 points, 12 assists and six boards for the Thunder, who blew a 22-point lead.
Serge Ibaka ended with 11 points and 11 rebounds in the defeat for Oklahoma City (42-19), which dropped three of the last four games and face the defending champions and the NBA-best team, Golden State Warriors on the road on Thursday night.
“I’m not taking anything away from L.A.,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “Obviously, they had to make the plays to get back in it.
“But did we beat ourselves, or did they beat us?
“The biggest decision that we have to make collectively, from an accountability standpoint, is that there’s got to be a whole level of sacrifice by everybody.”
The Thunder managed just one field goal during the last 7:30 against the Los Angeles Clippers and a worried Durant, who also saw his team collapse against the Warriors late last month, believes they are lacking the discipline to close-out games.
“If we just want to be a great team, the way we’re playing, we’re fooling ourselves,” the All-Star forward said after the Thunder were outscored 35-13 fourth quarter.
Durant, who had six of the team’s 17 turnovers, added: “They were disciplined, and we weren’t.
“I need to lead by example. I need to play with a passion, and hopefully it rubs off.”
Elsewhere in the NBA on Wednesday night, the San Antonio Spurs beat the Detriot Pistons 97-81, Orlando Magic handed the injured depleted Chicago Bulls their fourth successive defeat, 102-89, Denver Nuggets top the Los Angeles Lakers, 117-107 and the Boston Celtics took down the Portland Trail Blazers, 116-93.
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Wednesday, March 2
SPURS 97, PISTONS 81
LA CLIPPERS 103, THUNDER 98
ROCKETS 100, PELICANS 95
NUGGETS 117, LAKERS 107
RAPTORS 104, JAZZ 94
MAGIC 102, BULLS 89
WIZARDS 104, TIMBERWOLVES 98
CELTICS 116, TRAIL BLAZERS 93
GRIZZLIES 104, KINGS 98
PACERS 104, BUCKS 99
HORNETS 119, 76ERS 99