Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin gave strong reminders on why they were two of top three in the league's MVP voting but Oklahoma City Thunder ultimately prevailed with a 118-112 win over the Los Angeles Clippers Friday evening to take a 2-1 series lead. Durant led all scoring with 36 points on 14 of 24 shooting from the floor; 2 more points than Griffin.
Thunder PG Russell Westbrook finished with 23 points and 13 assists versus just two turnovers. The Oklahoma City Thunder's supporting cast was much more productive as well. PF Serge Ibaka had 20 points while bench players Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler scored 14 points each.
In game 2 earlier in the week, former Sooner and Oklahoma City native Blake Griffin played far below his expectations. Griffin didn't make the same mistake twice. He scored 9 of the first 11 points for the Clippers, ultimately 14 in the opening quarter. Durant was just as exceptional with 15 points but the Thunder trailed 33-29.
The first two quarters were as tumultuous as any one half of basketball in this NBA postseason. The lead changed 14 times by the second quarter's end and the Clippers held a 53-51 lead at the break.
The third quarter didn't have as many lead changes but the small point differential was still the same. Russell Westbrook already reached a double-double with 17 points and 11 assists While OKC led for much of the quarter, the Clippers closed out on an 8-0 run to retake the lead 90-86 heading into the final quarter.
The Thunder opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run over 2:58, capped by Kevin Durant made jump shot with the foul and made free throw. It gave OKC a short-lived 96-92 lead. Oklahoma City ultimately outscored Los Angeles 33-23 in the fourth, most notably with Russell Westbrook late 3-pointer followed by a Kevin Durant fall away jumper in the face of Clippers PG Chris Paul.
Game four is scheduled to begin Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Central time and will air on Tulsa's Channel 8.