Thunder Uses 3-Point Barrage To Sink Clippers

Wednesday, January 23rd 2013, 1:09 am
By: News 9

When you're hot, you're hot.

The Oklahoma City Thunder used an incredible shooting night to take down the Clippers 109-97 on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

The Thunder shot an incredible 15-27 (56 percent) from 3-point range, which would look even more impressive if Reggie Jackson's 0-3 mark was excluded. Kevin Durant hit 5-6, Russell Westbrook shot 3-6, Thabo Sefolosha was 3-4, Kevin Martin knocked in 3-5, and Serge Ibaka drained his only attempt.

Despite the hot night, things started slowly for the Thunder. When Scott Brooks called a timeout at the 6:01 mark of the first quarter, OKC trailed 12-4. It took most of the first to get going, but when they did, they didn't stop.

The Thunder (33-9) turned a 22-14 deficit into a 31-24 lead in less than three minutes. The 17-2 run was led by the hot shooting of Martin, whose 11 points during the stretch included three 3-pointers.

The Clippers (32-11) battled right back though, led by All-Star forward Blake Griffin. Griffin scored 10 points in the period's final five minutes to keep the game within reach. He finished the half with 16 points.

The Thunder's big four all had solid performances that led OKC to a 49-45 halftime lead.  Westbrook led the way with 12 points, Martin poured in 11 while Durant and Ibaka each added eight.

Oklahoma City came storming out of the gate in the second half as they looked to get some separation from the conference's second-place team. The Thunder rained one 3-pointer after another down on the Clippers, building their lead to as much as 77-61 with just over three minutes left in the third. OKC hit its first six 3-balls of the quarter, three by Thabo Sefolosha, and didn't miss from long-range until Nick Collison's long heave just before the third-quarter buzzer.

The Thunder outscored Los Angeles 33-23 in the third to take an 82-68 lead into the final stanza. But L.A. didn't make it to 20 games over .500 by quitting, and they came out in the fourth ready to fight.

The Clippers opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to get within 82-75, getting their crowd back into the game in a hurry. For a moment, it had the feeling of what might turn into a close battle down the stretch, but that's when OKC turned up the heat.

Durant proceeded to hit three more 3-balls, Westbrook hit back to back jumpers, and even Ibaka knocked one in from downtown. Next thing you knew, there were just four minutes left, the score was 103-87, and it was time to go home.

Griffin finished with 31 points, 11 boards and five assists in the losing effort. Jamal Crawford added 14 points off the Clippers' bench, while Eric Bledsoe chipped in 12 points starting in the place of the injured Chris Paul. The Clippers managed just 4-16 (25 percent) from downtown.

Durant led OKC with 32 points, seven boards and seven assists, while Westbrook poured in 24 and dished out six assists. Ibaka finished with 17 points and nine rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Martin added two late free throws to total 13 points off the Thunder bench.

The win increases the Thunder's lead over the Clippers to 1.5 games in the Western Conference, and improves OKC to 2-0 against L.A. on the season.

Oklahoma City is back at it late Wednesday night when it faces a tough Golden State Warriors squad at 9:30 p.m.