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Paul scores 32; Clippers roll past Thunder 122-105

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 6, 2014 at 2:10 am •  Published: May 6, 2014
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Chris Paul got the best of Russell Westbrook in a matchup of two of the league's best point guards.

Paul made a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 32 points to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Thunder 122-105 Monday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal.

Paul, who had never made more than five 3-pointers in a game, also had 10 assists.

"It was just one of those nights," he said. "This one will definitely go down in the history books for me. Don't count on it for Game 2, I can tell you that."

Though Paul is a career 36 percent 3-point shooter, he doesn't usually shoot them so often. Once he started hitting them, he became increasingly aggressive. He made 8 of 9 on the night.

"When somebody's got it going like that, you just try to stay out of the way as much as possible, but also help keep that fire going," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said.

Westbrook led the Thunder with 29 points on 9-for-14 shooting, but he had six turnovers and just four assists. Kevin Durant had 25 points and Serge Ibaka added 12 for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City thought it defended Paul relatively well.

"I thought on a lot of those 3s, especially early in the game, we had a hand in his face and a hand in his shots," Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha said. "So we did a decent job, but those shots went in, and that boosted their whole team."

The Thunder suffered their worst home loss since moving to Oklahoma City.

"We have to get more physical," Durant said. "I'm not talking about hard fouls, I'm talking about jamming the lane, fighting through screens and not letting guys run free. We just have to be more physical."

Griffin scored 23 points, Jamal Crawford had 17 and J.J. Redick added 12 for the Clippers. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.

Both teams were coming off Game 7 wins in the first round on Saturday night, but only the Thunder looked weary. Oklahoma City opened by taking a 16-10 lead, but the Clippers responded with a 24-6 run. Paul hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter, matching his career high for 3s in a playoff game in the first 12 minutes. The Clippers shot 67 percent in the first quarter to take a 39-25 lead.

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