Los Angeles Clippers rally to even series
The Los Angeles Clippers, down by 22 points early, rallied to beat visiting Oklahoma City 101-99 and even their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series at 2-2.
The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES – After being thoroughly outplayed for more than 40 minutes, the Los Angeles Clippers fought back.
Leading the way was a player not known for coming up big in the clutch.
Darren Collison scored eight of his 18 points in the final 2:58, rallying the Clippers past the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-99 on Sunday to even the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series 2-2.
The Thunder led by 22 points in the first quarter.
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, who scored 27 points, missed a three-pointer and Serge Ibaka’s tip attempt was after the buzzer, allowing the Clippers to salvage a game they trailed until the final 1:23.
“It was a good look,” Westbrook said of the last shot. “Just didn’t go in.”
Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 25 points, making 9 of 11 free throws. Jamal Crawford, a graduate of Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, added 18 points.
“Our life was on the line,” Crawford said. “We go down 3-1 in the series, that’s it.”
DeAndre Jordan had 14 rebounds, helping the Clippers win the boards, 45-43 — the first time in 11 playoff games the Thunder was outrebounded.
“We just willed this one. We found a way,” said Chris Paul, who had 23 points and 10 assists.
Kevin Durant scored 40 points, making 15 of 18 free throws, for the Thunder.
“We let this one slip away,” the league’s most valuable player said. “We could have took control of the series.”
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
“We were almost on the mat and we got off of it. We didn’t get pinned,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “They’re seething right now. They had an opportunity to go up 3-1 and now it’s an even series.”
WASHINGTON – Paul George had a career playoff-high 39 points and added 12 rebounds to lead Indiana back from a 19-point deficit and past Washington for a 95-92 victory in Game 4 of the East semifinals.
The Pacers lead the series 3-1 and can close it out Tuesday at home.
George, who played 46 of the 48 minutes, scored 28 points in the second half.
“I kept wanting to try to get him a rest, and he kept saying, ‘No,’ ” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “And usually I’ll override that. But he kept making big shots, too.”
Indiana’s Roy Hibbert had 17 points and nine rebounds, continuing his recent surge after a poor-as-can-be start to the series.
Bradley Beal led Washington with 20 points.
• Clippers owner Donald Sterling apologized for racist comments captured on tape, saying they were a “terrible mistake.”
“I’m not a racist,” Sterling told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in excerpts posted from an interview taped Sunday and set to air Monday. “I made a terrible mistake. I’m here to apologize.”
In his first public comments since being banned for life from the NBA, Sterling said years of good behavior as an owner should count toward his future.
“I’m a good member who made a mistake,” Sterling said. “Am I entitled to one mistake, am I after 35 years?”
The interview came nearly two weeks after commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling, fined him $2.5 million and urged the league owners to force him to sell the team.
• NBA officials said if Donald Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers is terminated, so is Shelly Sterling’s.
Hours after Shelly Sterling said she would fight to keep her ownership of the franchise even if her estranged husband can’t, league spokesman Mike Bass said that wouldn’t be possible.