OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kendrick Perkins challenged his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates before a showdown of division leaders with the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
The Thunder had lost their first two games this season against other top teams in the Western Conference, and Perkins wanted that trend to stop immediately.
It wasn't easy, but Oklahoma City got the job done.
Kevin Durant scored 35 points, Russell Westbrook added 23 and Oklahoma City's All-Star tandem scored all of the Thunder's points in overtime in a 117-111 victory over the Clippers.
"It felt good to finally get one of those wins, and we can move on now," Durant said.
Westbrook connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing to open the scoring in overtime, and Durant rattled one in from about the same spot two possessions later for a 108-104 advantage.
Westbrook then answered DeAndre Jordan's three-point play with a baseline jumper, and Oklahoma City was able to close it out from the foul line.
"This is a good win for us, especially against a team like that, that had some success lately," said Thabo Sefolosha, who hounded Clippers All-Star Chris Paul much of the game.
Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 23 points and Jamal Crawford scored 20 for the Clippers, who had a six-game winning streak snapped after entering the game tied for the best record in the West.
After trailing for the previous 44 minutes, the Clippers finally pulled even at 102 when Matt Barnes drove for a layup with 36 seconds left in regulation. Griffin denied Durant the ball on the Thunder's ensuing possession, and Westbrook came up empty on a drive to the basket.
Paul then dribbled out the rest of the clock before missing a turnaround jumper from the left elbow as the horn sounded.
"I think the frustrating part is we had an opportunity to win and, regardless of what anybody says, it's going to be hard for us to win a game when I play that bad," said Paul, who missed 12 of 14 shots and ended up with nine points and nine assists.
"It's tough because you work so hard but there's going to be nights like that."
Los Angeles had been tied with Memphis for the West's best record at the start of the day but dropped behind Oklahoma City and San Antonio with the loss. The Clippers were trying to win at least seven games in a row for only the sixth time in franchise history, and the first time since 1991.
"We fought the whole game and Chris got a great look. We're going to live and die on that shot," Jordan said. "We fought but we definitely made some mistakes tonight. They made more plays than we did down the stretch."
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