Durant drives Thunder to win over undermanned Clippers
(The Sports Xchange) - Kevin Durant scored 31 points to lead Oklahoma City to a 119-117 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant shot 10-for-22 from the field and only 1-for-8 from 3-point range as he scored at least 20 points for the 60th consecutive game. Russell Westbrook added 26 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. Serge Ibaka scored 16 points to go along with nine rebounds for the Thunder (53-23).
Playing without their five regular starters, the Clippers got a career-high 32 points from Austin Rivers and 32 from Jamal Crawford. Rivers shot 12-for-19 from the floor, 7-for-9 from 3-point range, and handed out five assists. Crawford had seven assists, and Jeff Green added 19 points for Los Angeles (47-28).
Rivers drained a 3-pointer with 7:30 left in the game to put the Clippers on top 109-104. A pair of free throws from Durant closed gap to three points.
Westbrook ripped the ball from Rivers and then threw an alley-oop to Durant. After Steven Adams threw down a dunk, the Thunder were back in front 110-109.
However, Wesley Johnson answered with a 3-pointer to give Los Angeles a two-point advantage. Adams missed a pair of free throws, and Green made Oklahoma City pay by knocking down a 3-pointer from in front of the Thunder bench.
With the Thunder trailing by three, Westbrook drained a long 3-pointer to tie the game. Rivers answered with a drive into the paint and a shot over the Oklahoma City big men.
Westbrook tied the game with 1:20 left on a midrange jumper. A Crawford miss led to a Durant 3-point attempt that was off the mark. The Clippers came down with the rebound, but Westbrook got the steal and gave the Thunder the ball with 37 seconds left.
Westbrook took another jumper, but it was off. However, Adams bullied his way in for the tip-in, handing the Thunder a two-point advantage with 26 seconds left.
As the shot clock ran down, Rivers drove down the lane and lofted a high shot off the backboard. The ball bounced off the rim, and Westbrook skied for the rebound with 2.7 seconds to go to close out the game.
The last time the Thunder faced a team that decided to rest its starters was Saturday against San Antonio. They allowed the undermanned Spurs to hang around and found themselves in a tight contest for the entire first half, but Oklahoma City won 111-92.
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