OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant had 28 points and eight assists, another Thunder fan hit a half-court heave and Oklahoma City beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 105-91, Thursday night.
For the second straight game, a Thunder rooter made a midcourt basket during a second-quarter promotion to win $20,000. High school business teacher Brad Brucker was congratulated by recording artists Beyonce and Jay-Z, who sat in courtside seats next to Durant’s family.
Serge Ibaka scored 17 points and blocked three shots and Russell Westbrook added 12 points for Oklahoma City, which has won its first five home games of the season for the first time since starting 2004-05 in Seattle.
Oklahoma City led all the way, taking a quick 10-point advantage and never leading by less than six points after that in the matchup of Western Conference powers.
Blake Griffin scored 27 points on 12-for-23 shooting and also had 10 rebounds for the Clippers. He’s had a 20-10 double in 10 of the last 12 games, and has posted an NBA-high 100 such games since the start of the 2010-11 season.
The Clippers’ Chris Paul also extended his NBA-record streak while finishing with 17 points and 12 assists. He has opened the season with 13 straight games in which he’s had at least 10 points and 10 assists. Magic Johnson held the previous record of 11 such games to open the 1990-91 season.
But the Thunder answered every rally by the Clippers and evened the season series between the teams after Los Angeles won at home 111-103 on Nov. 13.
Los Angeles pulled within 81-75 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, but Nick Collison’s three-point play and a jumper by Jeremy Lamb put the Thunder up by 11. Baskets by Los Angeles’ Ryan Hollins and Jamal Crawford made it a seven-point game, but Oklahoma City scored the next seven points and took its biggest lead of the game to that point at 93-79 on a free throw by Lamb with 7:11 left.
Los Angeles didn’t cut the margin below double digits the rest of the game.
Crawford scored 18 points for the Clippers, who hurt themselves at the free-throw line, finishing 7-of-15. Lamb scored 11 for the Thunder.
The Clippers missed their first seven shots, allowing Oklahoma City to take a 13-3 lead just over five minutes into the game. Los Angeles struggled at times against the Thunder’s interior defense, as Ibaka and rookie Steven Adams each blocked a pair of shots in the first-half.
Oklahoma’s City led by 13 before taking a 51-43 edge at halftime.
Griffin, limited to six points in the first half, scored seven straight baskets for the Clippers during the third quarter and his 20-foot jumper pulled Los Angeles within 68-62. The Thunder rebuilt its lead with a basket from Kendrick Perkins, a three-point play from Durant and a 17-foot jumper by Ibaka.
NOTES: Clippers F Matt Barnes missed his second straight game with a left eye injury sustained when he caught an inadvertent elbow from Memphis’ Zach Randolph on Sunday. Barnes and Ibaka were ejected after a second-quarter altercation when the Clippers and Thunder played on Nov. 13. … Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers had high praise for the Thunder’s Adams, whom Oklahoma City drafted in the first round this past summer. “He’s going to be good,” Rivers said of the 7-footer from New Zealand. Rivers watched in a pre-draft workout when Rivers still was coaching the Boston Celtics. “He has great hands and can shoot the ball pretty well. He’s big. He has size and what is he, 20?”