The Los Angeles Clippers came back from a 22-point deficit and managed to squeak out an improbable 101-99 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder and tie the series at 2-2. Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford combined to score 36 points off the bench and propelled Los Angeles to a huge comeback victory.
The Thunder got off to a ridiculous start, hitting their first seven shots from the field and jumping out to a 17-3 lead. The Clippers haven't done a great job of slowing down Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook in the past two games and they clearly struggled with that task again on Sunday afternoon. The Los Angeles defense was all out of sorts and Doc Rivers found his team in a 32-15 hole after the first quarter.
Happy Mother's Day
Happy Mother's Day
But the Clippers seemed to figure something out after the first 12 minutes. Chris Paul decided to put the team on his back, fired up his teammates and helped close the gap to make it 39-35 halfway through the second quarter. Blake Griffin didn't have a great first half and nobody on the Clippers shot the ball particularly well, but Los Angeles managed to cut a 22-point deficit down to an 11-point deficit by halftime. Paul finished with 23 points and 10 assists while Blake Griffin added 25 points and nine rebounds.
This is Game 4 and that's typically when you start to see two teams getting sick of one another. There were plenty of post-whistle scuffles and double technicals handed out as the officials tried to prevent the game from getting out of control. Nobody wants to see constant posturing after every play, but the added intensity made for some really incredible basketball. Despite the fact that the Thunder led by 11 at the break, it was clear that the Clippers would make a run before the game was over.
In the second half, the Clippers turned up their defensive intensity and starting forcing more turnovers. More OKC turnovers led to more LAC points in transition. Blake Griffin didn't have a strong game overall, but he was able to come up with a few key buckets to get the Clippers back into the game.
Kevin Durant had a tremendous game. Although he struggled from behind the arc, Durant still played a masterful game, getting to the line to shoot 18 free throws and finishing with 40 points. Russell Westbrook put together yet another complete effort, flirting with a triple-double and totaling 27 points, six rebounds and eight assists. But it wasn't enough to finish off the Clippers and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.
The Clippers' biggest issue on the offensive end was their complete inability to make three-pointers. Despite having numerous open looks, Los Angeles shot just 3-of-21 on threes. Still, the Clippers made a huge surge in the fourth quarter and finally made it a one-point game at 90-89 with 2:45 left in the game.
In typical 2014 NBA playoffs fashion, the ending to this game was fantastic. Durant and Griffin traded ridiculous layups, Jamal Crawford drained a huge three, and Darren Collison absolutely took over. Collison scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and hit a streaking layup to give the Clippers the lead for good. Westbrook had a really good look for three to win the game at the buzzer, but just missed.
Game 5 will be played in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. ET