Paul the hero as Clippers edge ThunderApr 12, 2012 - 7:11 AM Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Chris Paul scored 11 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead basket with 8.8 seconds remaining to give the Clippers a 100-98 comeback victory over the Western Conference- leading Thunder.
Kevin Durant tried answering Paul's driving floater, but his three-point try from the left wing found all iron as the buzzer sounded.
Despite its fourth loss in six games, Oklahoma City maintained its one-game lead over the Spurs atop the conference after San Antonio lost to the Lakers Wednesday night.
Blake Griffin totaled 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Los Angeles, which rebounded from Monday's loss at Memphis to stay 1 1/2 games behind the Pacific Division-leading Lakers.
"That was a great win for us. We needed that and we hung together and pulled it out," Griffin said. "This is a hostile environment and a really tough place to play, so to come in here and get a win against a good team in this building is big for us."
The Thunder led by as many as nine in the second half, but Paul took over in crunch time.
The All-Star point guard's three-pointer broke an 89-all tie with five minutes remaining in regulation. The margin was still three coming down the stretch, and Paul stretched it to 98-93 with a putback of his own miss with 1:19 to play.
Serge Ibaka followed with a dunk at the other end, and Durant blocked Kenyon Martin's baseline jumper as the shot clock was winding down.
Durant connected from long range to tie things, leading to a Clippers timeout with 32.2 seconds remaining.
The game-deciding play was set up for Paul, who came off a pick at the top of the key, dribbled past Kendrick Perkins, faked a pass to the right wing and lofted a floater that rattled in with 8.8 seconds on the clock.
Durant was unable to counter, sending the Northwest Division-champion Thunder to just their sixth home loss.
"They made some runs and some big shots and offensively, we couldn't get it going enough to win the game," Thunder guard James Harden said.
The Thunder led 24-21 after 12 minutes and never trailed in the second or third quarters. They owned a 55-48 edge at halftime and an 80-76 advantage heading to the fourth despite Paul netting 13 points in the third stanza.
The Clippers took their first lead since it was 6-5 when Randy Foye drained a three-pointer for an 85-84 advantage 3 1/2 minutes into the final quarter.
These teams round out their four-game season series in Los Angeles next Monday. The Clippers currently lead the set, 2-1...Russell Westbrook scored 20 points for Oklahoma City, but shot just 3-of-14 from the floor...The Clippers won the battle in the paint, 52-32.
- LOS ANGELES: 100
OKLAHOMA CITY: 98
Apr 11 10:34 PM
- LOS ANGELES: 48
OKLAHOMA CITY: 55
Apr 11 9:13 PM
- LOS ANGELES: 21
OKLAHOMA CITY: 24
End of 1st
Apr 11 8:38 PM
- LOS ANGELES: 0
OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 11 8:13 PM
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