"It's an obvious thing, but 3-1 compared to 2-2 is a huge, huge
difference," said Los Angeles forward Blake Griffin. "Nothing really
else to say."
Despite 40 points from Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant,
the Clippers made a bigger statement by overcoming a 16-point,
fourth-quarter deficit and pulling out a 101-99 victory over the
Thunder in Game 4 before a sellout crowd of 19,365 at Staples Center
Reserve guard Darren Collison's layup with 32.8 seconds remaining in
the game was the difference and allowed the Clippers to even the
best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
"It's right up there," Griffin said of the rally. "I remember two
years ago, Game 1 in Memphis, we were down 20-something in the
fourth quarter and came back. This is right up there with it just
because of the circumstances."
Game 5 is Tuesday in Oklahoma City.
The Thunder, who led by as many as 22 points in the first half, blew
a 16-point lead achieved with 9:18 left in the fourth quarter. Guard
Russell Westbrook missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have
won it for the Thunder.
"It's a tough loss, but it's a series, man," said Westbrook, who had
27 points, eight rebounds and six assists. "It ain't like we're
going home (trailing). We'll go back home and take care of
They had a chance Sunday, but failed miserably with a meltdown in
the final period, when the Clippers came through with a 38-point
period and got key buckets by Collison, who scored 12 of his 18
points in the fourth, and point guard Chris Paul.
"It's a three-game series," said Durant, who connected on 12 of 24
shots, but missed six of his seven 3-point attempts and also
committed eight turnovers. "Of course we let this one slip away. We
could have took control of the series."
The Thunder's 16-point, fourth-quarter lead dwindled to 90-89 after
a dunk by Collison with 2:57 left. The Clippers tied the score at 94
on a three-point play by Griffin with 1:50 remaining. Durant gave
the Thunder a 95-94 lead with a free throw before guard Jamal
Crawford's 3-pointer gave the Clippers the lead.
Westbrook tied the score again at 97, but Collison gave the Clippers
the lead for good with another basket with 59 seconds left.
Griffin led the Clippers with 25 points and also pulled down nine
rebounds. Paul scored 23 points and dished out 10 assists, while
Crawford added 18 points.
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"This is one of the best ones yet," Paul said of the comeback. "We
got off to a very slow start. Even there in the fourth quarter, we
could have relaxed, gave in at any point. I think we just willed
The Thunder imposed their will early, roaring to a 29-7 lead after
Westbrook scored on a drive with 3:10 left in the first quarter.
They led 32-15 at the end of the first as Westbrook (11 points) and
Durant (12 points) combined to outscore the Clippers.
Los Angeles missed 13 of its first 15 shots to open the game, while
Oklahoma City hit its first seven.
But the Clippers rallied in the second quarter, opening with a 20-7
spurt to cut Oklahoma City's lead to 39-35 after two free throws by
Crawford with 6:16 remaining. However, the Thunder increased the
margin to 57-46 at intermission.
The Clippers outscored the Thunder 52-32 in the paint. They also
outrebounded Oklahoma City for the first time in the series with a
NOTES: Thunder coach Scott Brooks showed a sense of humor when asked
if F Kevin Durant's MVP speech inspired the team's improved play
against the Clippers. "Something that was a little overlooked during
that speech was I wasn't given enough credit for being the speech
writer," Brooks said. ... The Thunder outrebounded the Clippers by
double digits in all three previous games, averaging more than 14
more boards per outing. ... Thunder reserve G Reggie Jackson
averaged 14 points in four road playoff games entering Sunday's
contest. ... Clippers C DeAndre Jordan, the league's No. 2 rebounder
in the regular season at 13 boards per game, was managing eight per
contest against Oklahoma City. ... Both teams entered Game 4 scoring
111.7 points per game in the series. ... The Thunder connected on
5-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc in the first period compared to
0-for-8 for the Clippers. Overall, Los Angeles hit 3-of-21 compared
to 7-of-24 for Oklahoma City.
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