Thunder eliminate Clippers, win Game 6 104-98

  • By Greg Beacham Associated Press
  • Thursday, May 15, 2014 11:04pm
  • SportsSports

LOS ANGELES — Kevin Durant had 39 points and 16 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 104-98 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 on Thursday night.

Russell Westbrook overcame a slow start to finish with 19 points and 12 assists as the Thunder reached the conference finals for the third time in four years, closing out Los Angeles with two straight wins.

Two days after the Thunder erased a late 13-point deficit to win Game 5, the Thunder rallied from an early 16-point deficit and maintained their lead throughout the fourth quarter, shaking off any memories of their Game 4 collapse.

Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists, and Blake Griffin scored 22 points as the Clippers’ exhausting postseason ended in disappointment.

Durant hit five 3-pointers and Reggie Jackson added 14 points for Oklahoma City, which will face the Spurs in a rematch of the West’s last two champions. The series begins Monday night in San Antonio.

J.J. Redick scored 16 points for the Clippers, who followed their epic collapse in Game 5 with a disappointing second half at home. Despite a raucous home crowd, Los Angeles won’t play for its first trip to a conference finals.

Perhaps the cumulative pressure of two playoff series amid the distractions of owner Donald Sterling’s lifetime ban finally cost the Clippers, who couldn’t keep up late.

Or perhaps Durant is just that good.

The Clippers were in control for most of the first three quarters. But the league MVP kept the Thunder close and eventually ignited a 30-10 run stretching across the final two quarters. Westbrook, who didn’t have a field goal until late in the third quarter, contributed 10 points in the fourth as the Thunder comfortably maintained their lead.

The fans’ frustration boiled over after an offensive foul call against Griffin with 3:11 to play. During the ensuing timeout, fans threw at least two drinks at referee Ed Malloy, causing a slight delay while the floor was cleaned.

Griffin fouled out with 2:27 left, but the Clippers got within four points in the final minute before Westbrook and Durant hit free throws to close it out.

The loss ended a tumultuous postseason for the Clippers, who managed to win a seven-game series with Golden State in the first round even while Sterling was banned from the NBA for life for racist comments exposed during that series.

Oklahoma City smoothly secured its spot in the conference finals after these teams traded spectacular collapses in the last two games.

The Thunder blew a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 4 at Staples Center, but the Clippers responded by blowing a 13-point lead in the final four minutes in Oklahoma City. The blame for the Clippers’ collapse fell mostly on Paul, who made two turnovers and a touch foul on Westbrook for the winning free throws in the final 14 seconds.

The Clippers showed little carry-over from their collapse early in Game 6, while the Thunder appeared a step slow and disorganized, falling behind by 16 points in the first half. Durant and Westbrook combined to miss their first nine shots.

NOTES: Serge Ibaka scored six points before going to the locker room in the third quarter with an injured left calf. … The NBA fined Rivers $25,000 on Thursday for his criticism of the officiating in Game 5. “I thought it was deserved,” Rivers said. … Matt Damon, Rihanna, Tony Romo, Oscar De La Hoya, UFC President Dana White, former Clippers guard Eric Gordon and Masters champion Bubba Watson attended the game. Jack Nicholson watched from a seat near the Clippers’ bench. The archetypal Lakers fan also has occasionally attended Clippers games over the years.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald talks with the media after practice at Under Armour Performance Center. The Seattle Seahawks hired Macdonald on January 31, 2024. (Kevin Richardson / Tribune News Service)
Seattle Seahawks roster breakdown: One thought on Geno Smith and every position group

The next phase of Mike Macdonald’s debut season as head coach of… Continue reading

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners lean on college players, pitchers with ‘power arms’ as MLB draft concludes

Seattle’s 20 selections include 19 college players and one high schooler.

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches at the 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners go college route on second day of draft, take 2-way player Grant Knipp

Seattle chose youth and selected eight college players.

Tyler Cronk performs in the slam dunk competition during the Everett 3on3 tournament in downtown Everett, Washington on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Recap, videos and photos: 2024 Everett 3on3 was another slam dunk

Everett alumni place second; skills contests, food trucks and vendors were also in full swing this past weekend to celebrate the basketball tournament’s third edition.

View of T-Mobile Park from the Press Club. Ben Ray / The Reporter
T-Mobile Park at 25: Mariners fans share favorite ballpark memories

The venue turned a quarter of a century on Monday

Kamiak High School’s Victor Sanchez Hernandez Jr. puts on a University of Washington football helmet. Sanchez Hernandez, a three-star defensive end who’s heading into his senior season, committed to the Huskies. (Photo courtesy of Victory Sanchez Hernandez Jr.)
High school football recruiting: Here’s how Washington’s 2025, 2026 classes are shaping up

TNT sports reporter Jon Manley spoke with national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman.

From left to right: Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ellalee Wortham, Ava DePew and Presley Harris. The foursome, called “Awesome Mix 12,” won the High School Elite division in 2023 and returned to Spokane Hoopfest this year to claim the Women’s Competitive division title. (Photo courtesy Sarah Reese)
Winter Wesco rivals, summer hoopfest champions

Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ava DePew, Presley Harris and Ellalee Wortham teamed up to win back-to-back 3-on-3 titles.

Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith found little room between South Carolinas Destiny Littleton (11) and Laeticia Amihere. (Carlos Gonzalez / Star Tribune)
These Olympians in the 2024 Paris Games have ties to Washington state

Nineteen athletes competing in France are from The Evergreen State.

Once an MLB bust, Mill Creek’s Travis Snider now hopes to change toxic culture

When Snider made it to the big leagues in 2008 at just 20 he was one of the game’s top prospects, touted as the Blue Jays’ next great hitter.

UW Husky rowing will be well-represented in Paris at 2024 Olympics

The U.S. eight competes in heat racing on July 29 with finals on Aug. 3.

Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (20) skates with the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Flames at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chandler Stephenson’s deal about broader Kraken goals rather than dollar value

The former Golden Knights centerman signed a seven-year deal for $6.25 million with Seattle last week.

Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh (29) celebrates his two-run home run with a trident as he high fives teammates during the first inning against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (Elías Valverde II / Tribune News Service)
Statistics show just how terrible Mariners’ offense has been | Analysis

Seattle leads the AL West, but situational hitting has been a setback.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.