The Los Angeles Clippers did not capitalize on the Thunder's smaller line up in the fourth quarter, where Russell Westbrook took over and willed his team to a 118-112 victory. The Thunder took a commanding 2-1 lead in the Game 3 win at Staples Center on Friday night.
Blake Griffin bulldozed his way into the paint for a tough layup as the Clippers trailed 108-107. Russell Westbrook connected on a long three pointer which Kevin Durant followed up with a spectacular jumper that increased the their lead to 113-107 with 1:21 left.
"In the fourth quarter our defense went up another level. Russell was finding guys. Everybody chipped in to help us win," coach Scott Brooks said.
Kevin Durant scored 36 points, Russell Westbrook scored 23 points and 13 assist, and Serge Ibaka who shot 90% from the field, finished with 20 points in foul trouble.
It got very in the second half when Matt Barnes and Kendrick Perkins were caught in a staring contest and picked up double technicals. Later in the third quarter Blake Griffin was elbowed in the nose by Ibaka. Griffin held a towel over his bloody nose as he walked off the court.
"When I asked the ref about it, he said I ran my face into his elbow, so I got to be careful where I put my face," said Griffin.
Griffin scored 34 points, Chris Paul scored 21 points with 16 assist, while Jamal Crawford added 20 points in the loss.
"They got 3s, layups, key second shots. Down the stretch, they made every big play. We had shots, too, and they didn't go in," said coach Doc Rivers.
Matt Barnes finished with 14 points, while DeAndre Jordan finished quietly with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Clippers have a must win situation on Sunday in Game 4 against the Thunder at Staples Center.