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NBA -- Bolt of Durant's thunder downs Clippers, 109-97


PhilBoxing.com




SAN FRANCISCO -- Kevin Durant sank 5-of-6 triples for 32 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder easily handled the Los Angeles Clippers, 109-97, Tuesday night at the Staples Center.

With the unexpectedly easy romp, the Thunder kept the NBA's best record overall at 33-9. The Clippers, who had the chance to take the top spot, maintained their place at second with a 33-11 slate.

After a narrow 49-45 halftime lead, the Thunder opened things up with a 33-point third quarter eruption that gave them a 14-point advantage entering the payoff period.

But the Clippers wouldn't go down without fighting. Reserves Grant Hill and Jamal Crawford joined forces to ignite a 9-0 run that cut the deficit to 82-75 with still 10:12 remaining. Another late blitz pushed the Clippers to within 90-82 at the 6:26 mark, but they wouldn't get any closer.

Sensing a momentum shift, the Thunder responded with a 9-0 blast courtesy of two triples by Durant and one from Serge Ibaka. And just like that, the battle between two West Conference heavyweights went lopsidedly on Oklahoma City's favor.

Making matters worse for Los Angeles was the equally-impressive play of Durant sidekick Russell Westbrook, who finished with 26 points and six assists. Ibaka added 17 points and nine rebounds and Kevin Martin chipped in 13.

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 32 points and 11 rebounds while Crawford had 14. Playing in place of the injured Chris Paul (bruised right kneecap), point guard Drew Bledsoe turned in an underwhelming 12 points and four assists.

"I didn't think we had a very efficient game on the defensive end and I think we were stagnant on the offensive end. We didn't have our court general out there, but that's no excuse," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro told NBA.com.

The Thunder shot a high 52.6 percent from the field and made 15 of 27 triples. The Clippers, on the other hand, shot just 46.4 percent and missed 12 of their 16 attempts above the three-point arc. (JSM)

Photo: Thunder sparkplug Kevin Durant scored 32 points Tuesday night as OKC overwhelmed the L.A. Clippers - 109-97 - at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joan Secuya-Medida.


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