Thunder clip LA’s wings
LOS ANGELES – Kevin Durant dropped in 24 of his 32 points in the second half as the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder downed the Los Angeles Clippers 109-97 last night in a battle for NBA supremacy.
Russell Westbrook tossed in 26 points while Serge Ibaka contributed 17 with nine rebounds for the Thunder (33-9), who hit 15 of 27 from behind the arc to remain at the top of the league standings.
Blake Griffin had a season-high 31 points with 11 rebounds, while Jamal Crawford scored 14 for the short-handed Clippers (32-11), who dropped behind the Thunder and idle San Antonio for the league’s best record.
The Clippers played without All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who missed his fourth game in the last six because of a bruised right kneecap.
Elsewhere, Kyrie Irving poured in 15 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter, including a key three-point play with 22.8 seconds left, as the Cleveland Cavaliers sent the visiting Boston Celtics to their season-high-tying fourth straight loss 95-90.
Tristan Thompson added 21 points for the Cavaliers (11-32), who learned Brazilian forward Anderson Varejao will miss the remainder of the season after developing a blood clot in his right lung.
Rajon Rondo topped the Celtics with 17 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists while Kevin Garnett scored 16.
Brandon Knight scored 18 points and Greg Monroe had 10 of his 16 in the pivotal 28-14 third quarter to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 105-90 victory over the visiting Orlando Magic for their seventh win in the last 10 games.
JJ Redick knocked down five triples en route to 26 points, while Jameer Nelson had 14 with nine rebounds for the Magic, who have dropped three straight and 14 of their last 16.
Turkish-born Ersan Ilyasova had 27 points with 16 rebounds, Brandon Jennings scored 25 and the Milwaukee Bucks improved to 6-2 under interim head coach Jim Boylan after sending the Philadelphia Sixers to their fifth straight road loss 110-102.
Evan Turner scored 23 points and Spencer Hawes had 21 with 12 rebounds for Philadelphia, who have lost 15 of their last 21 outings.††