News

Durant wakes up to carry Thunder past Clippers

Durant wakes up to carry Thunder past Clippers

PLAYOFFS:Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots against Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes (22) during the fourth quarter in game six of the second round of the 2014 NBA playoffs. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – Kevin Durant shook off a cold start to score 39 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 104-98 on Thursday to clinch a place in the Western Conference finals.

League MVP Durant began the game with one-for-seven shooting from the floor, but caught fire and added 16 rebounds and five assists in a Game Six road win that gave the Thunder a 4-2 best-of-seven series triumph.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Durant told reporters. “I just tried to stay with it, no matter what. My team mates did a great job screening for me.”

Durant’s assured performance carried the Thunder to a third West final in four years, in which they will play the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.

It was far from easy going for Oklahoma City, however, as they had to rally from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter to muscle past the Clippers.

In Game Five, the Thunder were down by 13 in the closing minutes of the fourth but fought back to stun Los Angeles.

The Clippers’ Chris Paul, who took most of the blame for that loss with several bad plays in the final few moments, had 25 points and 11 assists in their season-ending defeat.

Blake Griffin added 22 points and eight rebounds.

For Los Angeles, it was a post-season of drama, starting when owner Donald Sterling made racial comments that got him banned for life from the NBA.

“We’ve gone through a lot of stuff over the last three or four weeks,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I don’t think that’s why we didn’t win. I don’t think we should use that as an excuse.”

For the Thunder, Game Five hero Russell Westbrook made just 4-of-15 shots from the field but recorded 19 points and 12 assists.

It was also a solid night for the Oklahoma City bench, although the team lost forward Serge Ibaka to a calf injury in the third quarter.

The Thunder made their push in the third after trailing early, with Oklahoma City using a 7-0 run at the end of the quarter to tie the game at 72-72 before carrying the momentum into the fourth.

As a whole, the Thunder out-scored the Clippers 62-48 in the second half.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Recent Headlines

in Election 2014, Local

November Ballot: Many More Referendums And Constitutional Amendments

ballot

Voters will be answering many more referendums and constitutional amendments on their ballot this November.

in Local

Illinois Hospital Association: “Vigilantly Preparing” For Ebola

Health

The President of the Illinois Hospital Association says they're working closely with Public Health to prepare for Ebola.

in Election 2014, Local

Chicago Sun-Times endorses Bruce Rauner

Chicago Sun Times

The Chicago Sun-Times has endorsed Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Bruce Rauner over Incumbent Pat Quinn.

in Local

Secretary Of State: Graduated Driver’s License Drops Teen Driving Deaths

jesse_white

Secretary of State Jesse White says implementation of the "Graduated Driver's License" has reduced teen deaths.

in Local

Bill Clinton Expected to Stump in Illinois Next Week

Clinton Quinn

Quinn says event will be in Chicago.