Back Where They Belong: Thunder Eliminates Clippers, Head To West Finals

Friday, May 16th 2014, 1:28 am
By: News 9

The Los Angeles Clippers are officially Thunderstruck. 

Kevin Durant scored 39 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Thunder to a 104-98 series-clinching victory over a talented Clipper team that spent much of their playoffs dealing with an unprecidented controversy.

Although it ended well for OKC, it certainly didn't start that way.

The Clippers were the desperate team, and they came out playing like it. Los Angeles outscored the Thunder 30-16 in the first quarter. The Clips were fired up and the Thunder looked sluggish, but that would change.

Oklahoma City outscored the Clippers 26-20 in the second as Durant began to heat up. KD drained three straight 3-pointers to lift the Thunder off the mat. Los Angeles led 50-42 at the break.

The Thunder began to take the game over in the third quarter. OKC shot 71 percent in the third and tied the game on a last-second 3-ball by Nick Collison.

Collison gave the Thunder great minutes filling in for Serge Ibaka, who left the game in the third with what the team called a "left calf injury."  Thunder coach Scott Brooks had no update on Ibaka after the game.

Oklahoma City took the lead early in the fourth and never looked back, outscoring LA by six in the game's final stanza.

Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 12 assists for the Thunder, while Reggie Jackson chipped in 14 points off the bench. 

RELATED STORY: Westbrook's Big Night Shows Thunder's True Strength

Westbrook and Jackson were big, but perhaps the Thunder's finest performer was Steven Adams, who gave OKC a ferocious 40 minutes while scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. 

Collison finished with four points, two boards and two assists, but his passing ability allowed the Thunder's offense to flow.

RELATED STORY: Smash Brothers: Collison & Adams Provide A Big Boost In Win

Chris Paul led the Clippers with 25 points and 11 assists, while Blake Griffin added 22 points, eight boards and eight assists.  J.J. Redick also chipped in 16 points for LA. 

The Thunder will play in their third conference finals in the past four seasons.  Game 1 is set for Monday night in San Antonio.