Clippers hope to draw even with OKC in Mother's Day matinee
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Clippers will try to knot their Western Conference semifinals series with the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday in a Game 4 Mother's Day matinee at the Staples Center.
The Thunder reclaimed the home-court advantage LA took with a Game 1 win on Friday night with a 118-112 road win in Game 3.
MVP Kevin Durant totaled 36 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Russell Westbrook had 23 points, eight boards and 13 assists for the Thunder. Serge Ibaka contributed 20 points for Oklahoma City, which has won the last two contests in the series.
Caron Butler went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter and provided nine of his 14 points in the final period. Reggie Jackson also scored 14 points in a reserve role.
"We did a good job of playing with poise throughout the game," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought we did a good job of staying together. In that fourth quarter, our defense went up another level and we made some big shots."
Blake Griffin notched 34 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers. Chris Paul chipped in 21 points and 16 assists.
The Clippers lost despite turning the ball over only six times, but their downfall was defense.
The Thunder shot 55.7 percent from the field, including 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) in the fourth quarter.
"We obviously have to play defense better and I have to coach defense better," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "Neither team played a lot of defense tonight."
Jamal Crawford, who was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year on Thursday, totaled 20 points in a losing cause. DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Matt Barnes added 14.
This marked the first time, regular season and playoffs, that the Clippers lost a game (35-1) at home when leading after three quarters.
Griffin's layup had the hosts within 108-107 with 2:33 remaining, but Westbrook then drained a 3-pointer from the top of the arc. Following a Paul missed 3, Durant sank a turnaround shot over Paul from the right wing to make it a 113-107 margin.
"We're used to getting stops in those situations, but we didn't tonight," Paul said.
Two free throws from Jackson made it 115-107 with 22.7 seconds left, essentially sealing OKC's victory.
The Thunder are a playoff-tested group. They made the NBA Finals two years ago and didn't advance past this round last season because Westbrook went down with a knee injury.
"I think we did a good job of weathering the storms throughout the game and sticking together," Durant said. "We're going to have to do that even more next game if we want to win. It's going to be probably the toughest game of the series."
The Clippers have never gotten past this round.
Game 5 will be Tuesday night back in Oklahoma City.
05/11 10:29:45 ET