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Thunder wins showdown with Clippers

With Los Angeles missing Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and OKC beat their Western Conference rival.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 23, 2013

Sensational sixth man Jamal Crawford struggled just as much and finished with 14 points on 6-for-18 shooting. He missed five of his six 3-pointers in 28 minutes.

The Thunder scored just four points in the first six minutes and appeared to be out of sorts offensively and defensively as the Clippers built an eight-point first-quarter lead. But after trailing 22-14 in the final two minutes of the opening quarter, the Thunder assembled a 21-4 run to take a 35-26 lead with 7:10 remaining in the first half.

It was the Thunder's second unit that provided the spark. After scoring just 18 points Sunday at Denver — all by Kevin Martin — the Thunder's bench produced 21 points by halftime. Martin did most of the offensive damage, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the first half. But the Thunder turned the tide with defense, led by inspired efforts by Reggie Jackson and DeAndre Liggins.

Oklahoma City led by as many as 17 after shooting 52.6 percent for the game. But Los Angeles refused to go away.

The Clippers pulled within seven with 10:12 to go in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder again created separation and effectively closed out the game with a 19-7 run over the next 5½ minutes that put the Thunder ahead 102-85. Durant scored 11 of the points during the run, draining three 3-pointers from the top of the arc and capping the spurt with a sensational driving one-handed slam.

Serge Ibaka added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder, which improved to 2-1 on this six-game road trip.