Clippers rally for 101-99 comeback win over Thunder
Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, right, smacks Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant on the head as he goes up for a shot in the first half of Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Beth Harris, The Associated Press
Published Sunday, May 11, 2014 6:42PM EDT
LOS ANGELES -- Darren Collison scored 10 of his 18 points in the final 2:58, rallying the Los Angeles Clippers past the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-99 on Sunday to tie the Western Conference semifinal series 2-2.
Russell Westbrook, who scored 27 points, missed a 3-pointer and Serge Ibaka's tip attempt was too late at the buzzer, allowing the Clippers to salvage a game they trailed until the final 1:23.
Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 25 points, making 9 of 11 free throws, and Chris Paul had 23 points and 10 assists. Jamal Crawford added 18 points. DeAndre Jordan had 14 rebounds, helping the Clippers win the boards, 45-43 -- the first time in 11 playoff games the Thunder were outrebounded.
Kevin Durant scored 40 points, hitting 15 of 18 free throws, for the Thunder.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
It was the 14th comeback by the Clippers this season after trailing by double digits. They rallied from 12 points down in the second quarter of Game 7 to oust Golden State in the first round.
The Clippers had no answer for Durant and Westbrook until midway through the fourth quarter. That dynamic duo drove the lane with abandon, drew fouls and made free throws in leading the Thunder to an early 22-point lead.
Durant's three-point play early in the fourth extended the Thunder's lead to 15 points, and they were still up by 10 with 7:44 to go.
But the comeback Clippers were not to be denied.
Paul willed his team back into it, scoring six straight points to get the Clippers within six. Griffin made three of four free throws before Collison got hot.
Crawford stole the ball and fed Collison for a fast-break dunk that drew Los Angeles within one. Griffin took a bounce pass from Paul, scored, got fouled and made the free throw for the game's first tie at 94-all.
Durant made one of two free throws before Crawford, the NBA's Sixth Man of the year, hit a 3-pointer. Westbrook's basket tied it at 97.
Collison scored the Clippers' final four points on layups. Crawford passed to a streaking Collison for a fast-break conversion on the second one for a 101-97 lead with 32 seconds left. Westbrook scored for the Thunder, but after Griffin missed, Westbrook did too to end the game.
Paul missed all five of his shots in the third, when Griffin picked up three fouls to give him five, and Crawford and Jordan each got their third.
Ibaka, who shot 9 of 10 in the Thunder's Game 3 win, got his fourth foul, along with Westbrook in the third. The Clippers came as close as eight points before Reggie Jackson's 3-pointer beat the shot clock to keep the Thunder ahead 75-63 going into the fourth.
The Thunder had the Clippers on their heels from the opening tip, with Oklahoma City shooting 65 per cent in building a 22-point lead.
Oklahoma City outscored the Clippers 32-15 in the first; the fewest points they've allowed in a quarter of a playoff game.
The Clippers got to 39-35 using a 20-7 run, with Paul scoring seven, to start the second. But the Thunder closed the half strongly on an 18-11 spurt, including seven by Durant, to lead by 11 at the half.