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Late excitement as Clippers beat Thunder, 98-92, in technical-filled game

Los Angeles Clippers overcome a 16-point first-half deficit to pull away from Oklahoma City in the final minute of a game in which seven players received technical fouls.

April 02, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Clippers center DeAndre Jordan fouls Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook as he goes up for a shot in the first half Saturday night at Staples Center.
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan fouls Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

Technical fouls went flying in the third quarter of what ended up a 98-92 victory by the Clippers against Oklahoma City on Saturday night. The Clippers rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit and even trailed by a point as late as the final 1:32 before pulling away in the final minute.

Word of the day: Technical.

Question of the day: What is it about the Staples Center basketball court, anyway?

The temperature didn't come close or quite match the heat generated between the Lakers and the Mavericks from the other night here, but the Clippers and Thunder managed to concoct a genuine level of mutual dislike.

Technical fouls went flying in the third quarter of what ended up a 98-92 victory by the Clippers against Oklahoma City on Saturday night. The Clippers rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit and even trailed by a point as late as the final 1:32 before pulling away in the final minute.

The decisive blow was handed out by Eric Gordon, who hit a three-pointer from the left wing with 43.2 seconds remaining to put the Clippers up, 95-92.

His deep salvo was followed up, following a timeout, with a big steal from Clipper guard Randy Foye, who picked off a Russell Westbrook pass with 39.9 seconds remaining.

Gordon had 18 points, including two three-pointers. But Blake Griffin, who seemed to spend more time sprawled on the floor than on his feet, virtually willed the Clippers to victory with 26 points and 16 rebounds. Craig Smith had 14 points and five rebounds, coming off the bench and DeAndre Jordan added 12 points and two blocked shots.

For the Thunder, Kevin Durant scored 23 points and James Harden added 14 points off the bench.

There was anger, rage and some pretty entertaining basketball with plenty of theatrics thrown in what was the Clippers first win in three games.

All the arguing and complaining, from both sides, made it look like a fairly decent imitation of a European soccer game.

Perhaps the fury behind the furious Clippers comeback came from the spate of technicals in the third and perceived injustice on the part of the Clippers in the fourth. Thunder players received them at various stages — Kendrick Perkins, Westbrook and Nazr Mohammed — and were joined by their coach Scott Brooks, who got his when Westbrook received a technical.

Official Joey Crawford, obviously, is a busy man these days. He handed out technicals to Collison and the Clippers' Griffin with 2:59 left in the third quarter before things escalated between them.

Etc.

Center Chris Kaman missed his second game in as many nights because of a viral illness. He had made the trip with the Clippers to Phoenix but got sick on Thursday night and did not play against the Suns.

Also inactive for the Clippers was small forward Ryan Gomes, who has been dealing with a swollen knee. Coach Vinny Del Negro said last week that he was considering shutting Gomes down for the season.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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