Sports

Thunder gets aggressive to even series with Clippers

Los Angeles ClippersNBASportsProfessional BasketballBasketballKevin DurantRussell Westbrook
Durant, Westbrook combine for 63 points, 22 rebounds and nine assists
Chris Paul has 17 points and 11 assists, but also five fouls and a technical
Thunder wins Game 2, but Clippers still have home-court edge

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The lights went dim inside Chesapeake Energy Arena late in the second quarter, and soon thereafter, the lights went out on the Clippers.

They were lighted up by the Oklahoma City combination of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who were the catalysts in leading the Thunder past the Clippers, 112-101, Wednesday night in Game 2.

Durant and Westbrook, who had a triple-double, combined for 63 points, 22 rebounds and 19 assists, and the Clippers returned home with the best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series tied at 1-1.

Game 3 is Friday night at Staples Center

"It's hard, but that's why their names are Westbrook and Durant," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "They're very good players."

The Clippers knew Durant would be energized, that he would have the crowd worked into a frenzy once he received his most-valuable-player trophy from the NBA before the game.

The plan was for the Clippers to try to withstand the surge from Durant, but he finished with 32 points on 10-for-22 shooting, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Westbrook was equally as effective, finishing with 31 points on 13-for-22 shooting, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Westbrook also had six offensive rebounds.

"They are both really good players," Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said. "They play off one another very well."

The Clippers didn't get the same production in Game 2 that they received in their Game 1 blowout.

Chris Paul had 17 points and 11 assists. But he also had five fouls and was called for a technical foul while sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter.

Blake Griffin struggled with his shot, scoring 15 points on five-for-13 shooting.

"They were just aggressive," Paul said about the Thunder. "I think Russ [Westbrook] probably played harder than all of us combined. He was all over the place. We've got to play better."

The lights dimmed with 27.2 seconds left in the second quarter and the Clippers trailing 61-56, stopping the action. They did have the basketball, though.

After the lights were unable to get turned back to their regular wattage, both coaches agreed to finish the first half with the lights down lower.

And all of this happened with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in attendance to present Durant his MVP trophy.

Finally, during halftime, the lights came back on to full capacity.

But the Clippers never quite got back into the game in the third quarter.

After Thabo Sefolosha (14 points) made a wide-open jumper for a 12-point Thunder lead in the third quarter, Rivers called a 20-second timeout.

A little over a minute later, Serge Ibaka scored on a wide-open dunk, drawing the ire of Rivers toward his players.

He quickly called a second timeout with 4:37 left in the third and his team down by 11 points.

It would only get worse for the Clippers.

They gave up 33 points in the third and trailed by as much as 20 points at 93-73.

"We knew they were going to come with it and they should," Rivers said about the Thunder. "But you've got to do it back and I didn't think we did it back. We weren't very physical tonight. Mentally, I didn't think we were very tough tonight either."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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Los Angeles ClippersNBASportsProfessional BasketballBasketballKevin DurantRussell Westbrook
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