Thunder rebounds vs. Clippers, ties series 1-1
Russell Westbrook had a triple-double, MVP Kevin Durant fell one assist short and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 112-101 on Wednesday night to tie their Western Conference semifinal series at one win apiece.
The Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant stood before his adoring home crowd, proudly holding his MVP trophy above his head during a pregame ceremony.
He spent the next few hours showing how he earned it.
Durant had 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 112-101 on Wednesday night to tie their Western Conference semifinal series at one game apiece.
“We wanted to come back and respond,” Durant said. “So, I think that’s what fueled the team tonight. We just went out there and played extremely well and left it all out there, and came out with a good ‘W.’ ”
During his emotional MVP acceptance speech Tuesday, Durant called teammate Russell Westbrook an MVP-caliber player. Westbrook backed up Durant’s words with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his third triple-double in his past five playoff games.
“I think Russ played harder than all of us combined,” Clippers guard Chris Paul said. “He was all over the place.”
Thunder coach Scott Brooks took Durant out of the game with 1:21 left, costing him a shot at the triple-double. No pair of teammates has had triple-doubles in the same playoff game.
Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha each scored 14 points for the Thunder, which shot 51 percent from the field and outrebounded the Clippers 52-36.
Paul had 17 points and 11 assists, and Blake Griffin added 15 points for L.A. The Clippers made 15 of 29 three-pointers in Game 1, but just 9 of 27 in Game 2.
The Clippers will host Game 3 Friday in L.A.
INDIANAPOLIS — Roy Hibbert broke out of his playoff funk with a season-best 28 points and nine rebounds, leading the Indiana Pacers to an 86-82 victory over the Washington Wizards that tied the Eastern Conference semifinals at 1-1.
It was a stark contrast to Hibbert’s abysmal, scoreless showing in Monday night’s loss — and most of this year’s playoffs.
But after hearing 48 hours of constant criticism and continual questions, Hibbert responded with the kind of game Indiana desperately needed. He made his first four shots, dominated the middle and produced big basket after big basket.
Game 3 is Friday in Washington.
Marcin Gortat had 21 points and Bradley Beal added 17 for the Wizards.
Washington took a 77-74 lead with 5:01 left in the game. Indiana scored six straight and never trailed again.
• San Antonio Spurs general manager R.C. Buford was named the league’s executive of the year for the first time.