|James Harden has his shot blocked by LA’s Andrew Bynum (right) and Pau Gasol, but the Thunder rallied to take a 3-1 series lead. (Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)|
Thunder run down Lakers
Russell Westbrook scored 10 of his 37 points during a stirring fourth-quarter comeback, Kevin Durant added 31 points and hit the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left, and the Oklahoma City Thunder seized control of the second-round series with a 103-100 victory over the Lakers in Game 4 Saturday night in Los Angeles.
Serge Ibaka scored 14 points for the second-seeded Thunder, who took a 3-1 series lead and moved to the brink of their second straight trip to the Western Conference finals.
Oklahoma City improved to 7-1 in the postseason with a tenacious rally on the second night of back-to-back games against the Lakers and Kobe Bryant, who scored 38 points in Los Angeles’s fifth loss in seven games overall.
The Thunder finished Game 4 on a 22-8 run, punctuated by Durant’s 3-pointer and two late free throws from James Harden, who had 12 points.
Game 5 is Monday night in Oklahoma City.
After sweeping Dallas in the first round, the Thunder are one win away from sending home the NBA’s last two champions.
Andrew Bynum had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who led, 92-81, with 7:45 to play before Westbrook went to work with a furious series of drives to the hoop. The UCLA product scored 9 points in just over 2 minutes, and Kendrick Perkins capped the 17-4 run on a putback layup with 1:16 left, putting Oklahoma City up 98-96 with its first lead since the first quarter.
After Bryant evened it with two free throws, Westbrook and Pau Gasol then traded turnovers, with Durant swiping Gasol’s careless pass before burying a straightaway 3-pointer that silenced Staples Center. The Thunder made 10 of their 15 shots in the final period.
Metta World Peace had 14 points, and Gasol managed just 10 points and five rebounds in the second game of the Lakers’ first back-to-back playoff games in 13 years. A night after the Lakers got back in the series with a late comeback for a 99-96 victory in Game 3, Los Angeles led for most of the night, but couldn’t execute on offense late.
Spurs 96, Clippers 86 - Tim Duncan scored 19 points, helping engineer a defining 24-0 run in the third quarter, and host San Antonio defeated Los Angeles to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their second-round playoff series.
“We didn’t plan on being down that much,’’ said Duncan, who at 36 is hungry to win the team’s fifth NBA championship and first since 2006-07.
Led by Tony Parker’s 23 points and his defense on an ailing Chris Paul, the Spurs kept running their plays even as Blake Griffin’s early offensive assault buried them in a huge hole. Griffin missed three shots in the first half, when he scored 20 points and carried his team to a 24-point lead despite a left hip injury and a sprained right knee.
“They came out like we expected, very strong. Blake was making crazy shots,’’ Parker said.
Griffin had 28 points and 16 rebounds, and reserve Mo Williams added 19 points for the Clippers, who face some daunting NBA history heading into Game 4 on Sunday at Staples Center. No team has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.