It was an intense game that clearly meant something to both the Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
It was such an intense game that neither team seemed able to take control, the Clippers falling behind by 17 points, the Thunder blowing almost all of its lead.
In the end, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant game up big to help the Thunder get by the Clippers, 107-101, Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Chris Paul (25 points, eight assists) and Blake Griffin (30 points, 12 rebounds) did their part to help the Clippers, but it wasn't enough to stop them from finishing the season series tied at 2-2 against the Thunder.
With Westbrook scoring 30 points and Durant adding 27, the second-seeded Thunder (57-21) improved its lead to 21/2 games over the third-seeded Clippers (55-24) in the Western Conference.
“I thought they were really into the game early on,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said of the Thunder. “They came to send a message and I don't think we handled it very well overall tonight. But I was proud of the way our guys fought back.”
The Clippers have three regular-season games left — at home against Sacramento on Saturday and Denver on Tuesday and on the road for the regular-season finale against a Portland team that is headed to the playoffs.
The Thunder has New Orleans, struggling Indiana, New Orleans on the road and Detroit at home to finish the regular season.
Down 17 points in the third and 16 in the fourth quarter, the Clippers pulled to within one point late and had opportunities to tie the score.
Griffin missed two free throws with 2:54 left that could have tied the score and Paul had a shot blocked that also could have tied the score.
Westbrook scored on a tip dunk for a 99-95 Thunder lead, forcing the Clippers to call a time out with 2:02 left.
But Paul didn't miss this time, scoring to bring the Clippers to within 99-97.
Durant, who was having an awful shooting night, answered with a three-point shot for a 102-97 Thunder lead.
The Clippers came right back, Paul finding Darren Collison for a three-pointer to pull the Clippers to within 102-100.
After Durant made two free throws, Paul made just one of two free throws to pull the Clippers to within 104-101 with 38.6 seconds left.
Westbrook struck again for the Thunder, hustling in for an offensive rebound.
He made one of two free throws after he was fouled, giving the Thunder a 105-101 lead with 15.2 seconds left that stood.
The Clippers couldn't shoot straight from the field or the free-throw line.
They were just 41.9% from the field, 29.6% (eight for 27) from the three-point line and 61.8 % (21 for 34 ) from the free-throw line.
J.J. Redick, still trying to work his way back from a bulging disk in his back that kept him out of 25 games, was one for seven from three-point range. They didn't take of the basketball either, turning it over 17 times.
Griffin was assessed a technical foul in the second quarter, giving him 15 on the season, tied for the most in the NBA with Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.
The Clippers turned the ball over five times in the first four minutes of the third quarter, allowing the Thunder to open a 17-point lead.
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