Clippers rally for 101-99 win over Thunder
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Darren Collison scored eight of his 18 points in the final 2:58 as the Los Angeles Clippers came back to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-99 on Sunday to level the Western Conference semifinal series 2-2.
In the day’s other playoff, Paul George scored a career playoff-high 39 points and added 12 rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers back from a 19-point deficit and past the Washington Wizards 95-92 to move one victory away from returning to the Eastern Conference finals.
Russell Westbrook, who scored 27 points, missed a 3-pointer and Serge Ibaka’s tip attempt was too late at the buzzer, allowing the Clippers to salvage a game they trailed until the final 1:23.
Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 25 points, making 9 of 11 free throws, and Chris Paul had 23 points and 10 assists. Jamal Crawford added 18 points. DeAndre Jordan had 14 rebounds, helping the Clippers win the boards, 45-43 — the first time in 11 playoff games the Thunder were outrebounded.
Kevin Durant scored 40 points, hitting 15 of 18 free throws, for the Thunder.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
It was the 14th comeback by the Clippers this season after trailing by double digits. They rebounded from 12 points down in the second quarter of Game 7 to oust Golden State in the first round.
The Clippers had no answer for Durant and Westbrook until midway through the fourth quarter. That dynamic duo drove the lane with abandon, drew fouls and made free throws in leading the Thunder to an early 22-point lead.
Durant’s three-point play early in the fourth extended the Thunder’s lead to 15 points, and they were still up by 10 with 7:44 to go.
Paul willed his team back into the game, scoring six straight points to get the Clippers within six. Griffin made three of four free throws before Collison sealed the win.
The Pacers lead the second-round series 3-1 and can close it out Tuesday, hosting Game 5.
George played 46 minutes and scored 28 points after halftime at Los Angeles, including making six of his franchise playoff-record-tying seven 3-pointers.
Roy Hibbert had 17 points and nine rebounds, continuing his recent surge after a poor-as-can-be start to the series. He helped Indiana overcome Washington’s 32-2 advantage in bench scoring.
That was thanks mainly to 30-somethings Al Harrington, Drew Gooden and Andre Miller, who combined for 28 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Wizards coach Randy Wittman likes to call that trio of not-yet-retired, best-days-behind-them guys — Miller, 38; Harrington, 34; Gooden, 32 — the “AARP group,” but they momentarily turned the game Washington’s way with quite a second quarter and a key stretch of the fourth.