Thunder edge Clippers
Buzzer-beater victory for Oklahoma City
LOS ANGELES – Kevin Durant scored the game-winning basket with 5.8 seconds left and blocked guard Chris Paul’s shot near the buzzer, lifting the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 100-99 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers last night at Staples Center.
Point guard Russell Westbrook scored 33 points and dished out seven assists, while Durant added 24 points and nine rebounds as the Thunder won for the eighth time in nine games.
Serge Ibaka contributed 17 points and eight rebounds for Oklahoma City (19-9).
Paul had 32 points and 10 assists to lead the Clippers, who lost their third straight. Forward Blake Griffin and guard J.J. Redick scored 15 apiece for Los Angeles (16-13).
Ibaka’s jumper in the lane tied the score at 93-93 with 3:13 remaining in the contest before the teams exchanged leads down the stretch. Griffin’s fade-away bank shot gave the Clippers a two-point lead with 2:08 left.
Westbrook’s three-pointer lifted Oklahoma City to a 96-95 lead, but Griffin’s dunk put Los Angeles back up 97-96 with 37.8 seconds.
Westbrook answered with a jumper to give the Thunder the lead again with 29.1 seconds remaining.
On the Clippers’ next possession, Westbrook stripped the ball from Redick with 14 seconds left. However, the All Star point guard failed to field the inbounds pass from Dion Waiters, and Paul grabbed the loose ball and scored on a layup, giving the Clippers a 99-98 lead with 10.9 seconds left.
Durant then delivered with a clutch jumper for Oklahoma City.
Both teams finished shooting 47.1 percent.
Meanwhile Kawhi Leonard had 24 points and the San Antonio Spurs surged past the Indiana Pacers for a 106-92 victory to remain undefeated at home.
San Antonio (24-5) are off to the second-best start in franchise history, including 16-0 at home. The Spurs have 21 wins by double figures.
Leonard also played tough defence on Indiana star Paul George, who had just 7 points on 1-for-14 shooting.
Dennis Schroder took advantage of Portland Trail Blazers’s depleted backcourt to score 18 points, and hosts Atlanta won their fourth straight with a 106 – 97 score line.
The Trail Blazers were without both starting guards, Damon Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Lillard has plantar fasciitis in his left foot and missed a game for the first time in his career, ending his streak of playing in 275 games. McCollum has two sprained ankles.
Allen Crabbe had 19 points for Portland in a fill-in start. Point guard Tim Frazier, who has played for the Celtics’ NBADL affiliate in Maine, had 12 points and seven assists in 47 minutes.
The Trail Blazers have lost four straight.
Brook Lopez (21 points, 12 rebounds) and Thaddeus Young (16 and 13) had double-doubles for Brooklyn, which won 105 – 102 in Chicago to end a five-game losing streak
Bulls star Jimmy Butler said before the game that he didn’t regret his critical comments of first-year coach Fred Hoiberg two days earlier following a loss in New York. Chicago have now lost three straight.
Butler had 24 points on 11-for-20 shooting.
Joakim Noah left the game late in the third quarter with a left shoulder injury.
Nikola Vucevic tied his season high with 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Orlando Magic prevailed 107 – 99 in New York to end the hosts Knicks’ four-game win streak.
Vucevic had a pair of baskets and Evan Fournier added a 3-pointer and another basket in an 11-2 spurt after the Knicks had cut it to 93-92 with 3:25 left.
Victor Oladipo finished that decisive run with a breakaway dunk that made it 104-94 with 1:07 to go.
Tobias Harris scored 20 points and Fournier had 16 for the Magic, who rebounded from Sunday’s loss to Atlanta to win for the fourth time in five games.
Lance Thomas was 9 for 9 from the field and tied his career with 24 points for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points.
Other results: Rockets 102, Hornets 95; Wizards 113, Kings 99; Jazz 110, Suns 89.