Kevin Durant had 39 points and 16 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 104-98 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 on Thursday night.
Russell Westbrook overcame a slow start to finish with 19 points and 12 assists as the Thunder reached the conference finals for the third time in four years, closing out Los Angeles with two straight wins.
Two days after the Thunder erased a late 13-point deficit to win Game 5, the Thunder rallied from an early 16-point deficit and maintained their lead throughout the fourth quarter, shaking off any memories of their Game 4 collapse.
Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists, and Blake Griffin scored 22 points as the Clippers’ exhausting postseason ended in disappointment.
Durant hit five 3-pointers and Reggie Jackson added 14 points for Oklahoma City, which will face the Spurs in a rematch of the West’s last two champions. The series begins Monday night in San Antonio.
J.J. Redick scored 16 points for the Clippers, who followed their epic collapse in Game 5 with a disappointing second half at home. Despite a raucous home crowd, Los Angeles won’t play for its first trip to a conference finals.
Perhaps the cumulative pressure of two playoff series amid the distractions of owner Donald Sterling’s lifetime ban finally cost the Clippers, who couldn’t keep up late.
Or perhaps Durant is just that good.