— NBA (@NBA) March 3, 2016
For the second time in five days, the Oklahoma City Thunder blew a big fourth-quarter lead as they allowed the Clippers to overcome a 17-point deficit Wednesday night in L.A. to eke out an improbable 103-98 victory. OKC led by as many as 22 at one point, but in the fourth quarter, a combination of careless play and frigid shooting upended what appeared to be a sure-fire win.
Wesley Johnson helped kick off a 24-4 run in the fourth with eight straight points after going 1-of-11 from the floor up to that point. The Thunder didn’t help their cause as they committed six turnovers in the final period and got outscored 35-13. DeAndre Jordan led the way for the Clippers with a monster double-double of 20 points and 18 rebounds on efficient 8-of-13 shooting. He came up with several key buckets down the stretch, including a difficult rebound tip-back off a Chris Paul miss while facing the wrong direction and drawing the foul.
Speaking of fouls, Jordan made clutch free throws when his team needed it the most. He went 2-of-2 from the line (4-of-7 overall) and scored eight points in the final three minutes. Paul added 21 points and 13 assists, while J.J. Redick chipped in 16 points in what was a difficult shooting night for just about everybody in a Clippers’ uniform.
Kevin Durant poured in 30 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists for the Thunder, but he was also responsible for six of their 17 total turnovers. Russell Westbrook had 24 points and 12 assists but like Durant had five turnovers of his own, including a crucial one in the final two minutes when he stepped out of bounds near mid-court. Then, with the Thunder trailing by three with under 10 seconds remaining, he threw up a wild 3-point attempt from just inside half-court to try and draw a foul.
OKC will head to the Bay Area tomorrow for their rubber match against the Golden State Warriors on the second night of a back-to-back.