Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/21/12
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Los Angeles Clippers owned the Oklahoma City Thunder in recent years. Entering Wednesday's matchup, the Clippers claimed six wins out of the last nine meetings. However, after taking the game into overtime, Oklahoma City held off Los Angeles 117-111 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena for its biggest win of the early season. Kevin Durant scored a season-high 35 points -- nine of them in overtime -- and he added six rebounds, five assists and five steals for Oklahoma City (9-3). Russell Westbrook contributed 23 points and nine assists for the Thunder. Blake Griffin paced the Clippers (8-3) with 23 points. Los Angeles guard Chris Paul was held to nine points and nine assists. In overtime, the Thunder took a five-point lead when Durant hit two free throws with 52 seconds left. Oklahoma City hit its free throws down the stretch to close out the game. With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Los Angeles forward Matt Barnes sank two free throws to cut his team's deficit to 98-95. After the Clippers got a stop, Paul had a chance to get his team to within one point, but he missed a layup, and Thunder forward Serge Ibaka got the rebound. He threw it out to Durant who scored an easy finger-roll layup. However, a Barnes 3-pointer spearheaded a 7-2 Clippers run that tied the game at 102-102 with 35 seconds remaining. The Thunder attempted to get the ball to Durant, but Griffin denied him the entire way. Westbrook was left with an off-balance shot that bounced off the backboard. Paul then had a chance to end the game in regulation, but his fadeaway jumper over Westbrook was off the mark. Kevin Martin came off the bench for to pour in 13 first-half points for Oklahoma City, which led 59-49 at the break. Martin went 3-for-5 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line in the first two quarters. Ibaka chipped in with 11 first-half points. The Clippers were led by Griffin and Jamal Crawford, who each had 10 points. Oklahoma City started the game draining 3-pointers from all around the court. Westbrook hit the first one of the game, and Thabo Sefolosha followed with two more before the Clippers were forced to call a timeout. The Thunder had a 10-point lead before a late Los Angeles run closed it to 28-22 heading into second quarter. The strength of the Clippers in the early part of the season has been their bench. The leader of that unit has been Crawford, who tops the team in scoring. When he entered the game, Durant tried to guard him, but after Crawford scored seven quick points, Durant moved over to check Barnes. The Clippers ran their offense through Griffin early. Griffin took 10 shots in the half, forcing the Thunder defense to converge on him, which left the team's perimeter shooters open. Despite that, Los Angeles couldn't slow down Oklahoma City. After starting the game with jumpers, the Thunder started driving to the rim and picking up fouls. They went 14-for-16 from the line in the first half. The Clippers closed the gap to 56-49 in the final seconds of the half before Ibaka drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to push lead back into double digits. NOTES: The Clippers entered the game second in the NBA in field-goal percentage at .492. They were second in the league in points in the paint with an average of 47 per game. Both numbers are by-products of the improved play of DeAndre Jordan and Griffin. Jordan was shooting 68 percent, while Griffin was at 51 percent. ... Despite the departure of James Harden, Oklahoma City had seen an increase in assists. The Thunder went from a league-low 18.5 per game last year to 22.4 per game this season entering Wednesday's game. That was good for seventh in the NBA. ... The novelty of Griffin playing in front of his hometown may have worn off after three years. When the Oklahoma City native and former Oklahoma University All-American shot an airball in the first half, he was soundly jeered by Thunder fans.
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