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Thunder-Clippers: How OKC rode a rookie and an old pro into the Western Conference Finals

OKC 104, L.A. CLIPPERS 98 — Steven Adams’ breakout performance and a vintage Nick Collison effort allowed the Thunder to survive a slow start and a game-ending injury to Serge Ibaka.
by Anthony Slater Published: May 16, 2014

Already with momentum toward the end of the third quarter, following a Reggie Jackson transition slam that cut the Clipper lead to three, Nick Collison spotted up in the corner on the quarter’s final possession.

Kevin Durant drove the lane, spotted his veteran and fired an on-point pass. Collison buried the corner three he has been tirelessly working on after every practice. It tied the game at 72. The Thunder would never again trail.

“Nick hit a big shot going into that fourth quarter,” Durant said.

And OKC’s stars took it from there. Durant was a monster, finishing with 39 points and 16 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook arrived right in time, making important plays in the fourth.

But with the Thunder’s third wheel back in the locker room, a 20-year-old rookie and a 10-year veteran were called upon. Using completely different tactics, both produced their best performances of the playoffs in the most crucial moment.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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