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Thunder slips by Clippers in OT

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Kevin Durant scored 35 points, Russell Westbrook added 23 and Oklahoma City's All-Star tandem scored all of the Thunder's points in overtime in a 117-111 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

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The Clippers, who came in tied for the best record in the Western Conference, had a six-game winning streak snapped.

Westbrook connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing to open the scoring in overtime, and Durant rattled one in from about the same spot two possessions later for a 108-104 advantage.

Westbrook then answered DeAndre Jordan's three-point play with a baseline jumper, and Oklahoma City was able to close it out from the foul line.

Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 23 points and Jamal Crawford scored 20 in the meeting of Western Conference division leaders. Clippers starting forward Caron Butler missed the game with a strained right shoulder.

After trailing for the previous 44 minutes, the Clippers finally pulled even at 102 when Matt Barnes drove for a layup with 36 seconds left in regulation. Griffin denied Durant the ball on the Thunder's ensuing possession, and Westbrook came up empty on a drive to the basket.

Chris Paul then dribbled out the rest of the clock before missing a turnaround jumper from the left elbow as the horn sounded.

Los Angeles was never able to pull ahead, failing in its bid to win at least seven games in a row for only the sixth time in franchise history.

Kevin Martin scored 20 points and Serge Ibaka chipped in 15 points and 12 rebounds for Oklahoma City before fouling out in overtime. Hasheem Thabeet also matched his career high with 10 points off the bench.

Barnes had 19 points for the Clippers. Paul was limited to nine points on 2-for-14 shooting, and he also had nine assists. Los Angeles had been tied with Memphis for the West's best record at the start of the day but dropped behind Oklahoma City and San Antonio with the loss.

The Clippers, who won three out of four against Oklahoma City in a sometimes testy series last season, haven't had a winning streak of seven games or longer since 1991.

The meetings last season included Griffin's memorable throwdown over Kendrick Perkins in a Clippers win and Perkins' retaliation with a hard foul to Griffin's face as Oklahoma City won the rematch. Barnes had a couple scuffles with Ibaka and Perkins but nothing quite as noteworthy.

The Thunder pushed ahead with a string of eight straight made baskets in the first quarter, and the lead stretched to 26-16 after Westbrook's extra effort turned a potential turnover into a three-point play for Thabeet. After Paul knocked the ball away from him, Westbrook sprawled on the floor and tapped the ball toward Martin, who picked up the rolling ball and swung it to Nick Collison, who passed it on to Thabeet for a layup.

Oklahoma City's lead was 59-49 at halftime after Ibaka banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Clippers finally got back within striking distance early in the fourth, withThunder coach Scott Brooks yelling to Durant to get off the bench with Los Angeles back within 78-75.

With Durant back in, Oklahoma City responded with the next six points to stabilize momentarily.

Durant was merely a bystander as Eric Maynor set up Thabeet for a two-handed slam and then Collison for a floater along the left side of the lane, but he then came up with a steal and launched an outlet pass to set up Martin's fast-break layup with 9:10 left that drew a timeout from Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro.

The Clippers then scored the next seven points to get back within 84-82 on a putback by Barnes.

Notes: Los Angeles has held eight straight opponents below 46 percent shooting. The Thunder were just shy at 45.6 percent. ... Crawford made all four of his free throws, stretching his streak of consecutive makes to 29. He made 37 in a row in April. ... Jordan, one of the NBA's worst foul shooters at 42 percent, got Oklahoma City to stop hacking him intentionally in the fourth quarter by making three of four.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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