Thunder Advance to Western Conference Finals
(LOS ANGELES, Calf.) -- Kevin Durant made just one of his first seven shots but turned in another MVP performance to lift Oklahoma City past Los Angeles, 104-98, to advance to the Western Conference Finals. Durant had 39 points and 16 rebounds in Game Six to finish out the series with the Clippers while Russell Westbrook added 22 points and 12 assists.
The Thunder had to mount another double-digit comeback, trailing by sixteen early in the second quarter. Durant would connect on three straight 3-point shots to bring Oklahoma City to within five 41-36 with 4:27 remaining in the first half before trailing by eight heading into the locker room. The league's Most Valuable Player finished the game going 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.
At the beginning of the third, Los Angeles seemed to have the edge and kept the Thunder at arm's length. A J.J. Redick basket gave the Clippers a 62-54 advantage with under six minutes to play in the frame, but Oklahoma City went on another run behind strong defense and better shooting. Nick Collison's three-pointer at the buzzer tied the game at 72-72 heading into the fourth.
Both teams trading buckets to open the period with Chris Paul knotting the game at 80 apiece four minutes in. However, the next two minutes belonged to Oklahoma City as the Thunder scored 10 straight points to seize control. Los Angeles got as close as six the rest of the way, but Oklahoma City hit their free throws down the stretch to ensure the win.
The Thunder were 29-of-33 (87.9%) from the charity stripe while Los Angeles was just 12-for-20 (60%). Meanwhile, Oklahoma City's defense held the hot-shooting Clippers to just 6-of-21 from downtown. Paul had 25 points and 11 assists for the Clippers to pace the offense. Teammate Blake Griffin fouled out after scoring 22 points and picking up eight rebounds to go along with eight assists.
Los Angeles must now face a difficult offseason following the racist comments from owner Donald Sterling, as well as two epic collapses in their final two games of the season. Oklahoma City will move on to face San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals beginning Monday night in Texas.
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