Durant, Thunder cruise by Clippers

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 21, 2012
Kevin Durant had 32 points and nine rebounds, Russell Westbrook added 19 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder shut down Blake Griffin and beat the Los Angeles Clippers 114-91 on Wednesday night. Playing in his hometown, Griffin was held to a career-low seven points in the rematch of a Clippers victory perhaps best remembered for his emphatic dunk over Kendrick Perkins. Griffin didn't have any dunks in this one, settling mostly for long jumpers and hook shots, and went just 3 for 11 from the field. Randy Foye started in place of Caron Butler and scored 23 points to lead Los Angeles, which hit 37 percent on a miserable shooting night from inside the 3-point line and failed to score 100 points for the eighth straight game. Kendrick Perkins set the tone for Griffin's rough night with a hard foul that also drew him his league-leading 11th technical foul midway through the first quarter, and the Clippers' All-Star forward never got going. After Oklahoma City's lead reached its largest point at 20 late in the third quarter, the Clippers reeled off 11 straight points to prompt Thunder coach Scott Brooks to call timeout and put both of his All-Stars back in the game 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. Westbrook drove for a layup and Derek Fisher, signed just before the game after he bought out of his contract with Houston, followed a few possessions later with a 3-pointer from the left side for his first basket with the Thunder during a 12-2 response that restored the cushion to 100-81 with 6:13 left. About 2 minutes later, Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro waved the white flag and sent in his reserves. Chris Paul finished with 13 points and 10 assists, and Nick Young scored 12 points in his second start with the Clippers after coming over in a trade with Washington. Los Angeles fell to 11-12 on the road this season, having lost six of its last eight. A night after getting outscored 50-20 in the paint in a loss at Utah, the Thunder used a hefty advantage inside to pull out to a 66-50 lead after a high-scoring first half. Los Angeles eliminated one double-digit lead before Oklahoma City pulled away again with a 16-4 run midway through the second quarter that featured back-to-back 3-pointers from Lazar Hayward. James Harden's 3-pointer from the left wing made it 52-39 with 6:25 left before halftime. Durant then converted a nifty reverse layup to start a string of eight straight points to finish the half for Oklahoma City. By that point, the Thunder held a 30-16 scoring edge in the paint. Los Angeles never did much in the lane, finishing with only 22 points in the paint. At one point late in the third quarter, the Clippers were 10 for 18 from 3-point range but only 10 for 34 from inside the arc. For the game, they were 12 for 26 (46 percent) on 3s and 17 for 53 (32 percent) on 2-point attempts. Westbrook hit a 3-pointer and a pull-up jumper during a quick 9-0 burst that put the Thunder up 20-10 less than 5 minutes in, but Perkins' technical after the hard foul against Griffin helped the Clippers start wiping away the deficit. Paul hit the ensuing foul shot and then he and Foye each made a pair of 3-pointers during a 17-7 comeback to tie it at 27. Notes: Oklahoma City reserve G Daequan Cook, who missed a game last week with a sore right shoulder, was out after spraining his knee in the fourth quarter a night earlier at Utah. Brooks had no update on when he'd return. ... Harden got a technical for taunting the Clippers' Eric Bledsoe after a dunk. Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha each got techs after Westbrook fouled Paul on a fast break. ... Perkins has also has had three technicals rescinded or else would be in jeopardy of a one-game suspension.
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