The Clippers overcame a 22-point deficit on Sunday afternoon to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 101-99, tying their second-round series at two game apiece.
Forward Blake Griffin scored 25 points and point guard Chris Paul added 23, but it was an unexpected 18 points from Darren Collison that spurred the Clippers to victory.
With All-Stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Griffin and Paul on the floor, it was Collison who was the leading scorer in the fourth quarter with 12 points on four-of-six shooting.
“Darren Collison was amazing today,” said Paul after the win. “You have to love a guy like that who plays with so much heart and never gives up. Game ball goes to Darren Collison.”
The Clippers were absolutely dreadful in the first quarter with 15 points on 25% shooting from the field while giving up 32 points on 64.7% shooting to the Thunder.
“It was one of those games,” said Clippers Coach Doc Rivers. “The game started out where we missed wide-open shot after wide-open shot.”
Paul helped turned the game around as the Clippers whittled six points off the deficit in the second quarter. By the fourth, the Thunder still held a 12-point advantage.
It was an odd, small lineup of Danny Granger, Jamal Crawford, Paul, Collison and Griffin that pushed the Clippers to victory.
“We put Danny at the four,” said Rivers. “His number won’t show it but Danny Granger was huge for us. He kept guys from getting rebounds. I thought his length was a factor. Then obviously Jamal and [Collison], in that small lineup, that won the game for us. I’m not sure we ever used that lineup [prior to Sunday], but that group won the game for us.”
Durant finished with 40 points. Westbrook (27 points) had a look at a game-winning three-pointer, but it didn’t fall.
The series resumes on Tuesday in Oklahoma City.