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  • BASKETBALL

    Thunder extends lead in West

  • LOS ANGELES — Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Russell Westbrook added 26 and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 109-97 on Tuesday night in a matchup of teams with the two best records in the NBA.
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  • LOS ANGELES — Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Russell Westbrook added 26 and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 109-97 on Tuesday night in a matchup of teams with the two best records in the NBA.
    Serge Ibaka added 17 points before fouling out late while helping the Thunder improve to a league-leading 33-9 and expand their lead in the Western Conference standings to 11/2; games over the Clippers, who were without All-Star Chris Paul and fell to 32-11.
    Blake Griffin had 31 points and 11 rebounds, and Jamal Crawford added 14 points off the bench. Eric Bledsoe scored 12 points starting in place of Paul, who missed his fourth game because of a bruised right kneecap. He missed three road wins last week, then played the next two games but it was obvious Paul wasn't himself so he was held out Tuesday.
    The Clippers had won four straight at home against the Thunder, and they led much of the first quarter before giving up the lead for good early in the second.
    Los Angeles made a run to start the fourth, with Grant Hill and Crawford combining to score seven in a row and close to 82-75. That was as close as the Clippers came in losing their second straight.
    Durant keyed a 3-point barrage over the next nearly 4 minutes, making three of them himself while Westbrook added one and Ibaka had another to extend the Thunder's lead to 99-82 — their largest of the game. Durant scored on a driving dunk to make it 101-85, then punctuated it by punching his right arm in the air.
    The Clippers cut their deficit to 105-97. After Westbrook missed, Griffin raced down court and proceeded to throw the ball into the seats. He bent over with his head in his hands.
    Having beaten the Clippers in overtime in November, the Thunder won the season series, with one game remaining on Jan. 22.
    Oklahoma City pulled away to a 77-61 lead in the third on a 3-pointer by Thabo Sefolosha and a fast break dunk by Westbrook. The Clippers cut it to nine on seven straight points, including four by Crawford, before the Thunder scored the last five points to lead 82-68 going into the fourth.
    The Thunder controlled the second, taking their first lead of the game on Kevin Martin's 3-pointer 45 seconds in. That launched a 13-2 run that gave the Thunder a nine-point lead, their largest to that point. Griffin scored the Clippers' final six points to help them close to 49-45 at halftime.
    The Clippers led by eight before the Thunder closed the first quarter on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 22-all.
    Pistons 105, Magic 90
    At Auburn Hills, Mich., Jason Maxiell, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe combined for 38 points and 28 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons pulled away to beat the undersized Orlando Magic.
    Brandon Knight led Detroit with 18 points, while Monroe scored 16 and Drummond and Maxiell each had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
    The Pistons also finished with a 16-6 edge in offensive rebounds against the Magic, who had their size issues magnified when Glen Davis was benched for much of the second half after taking 15 first-half shots and grabbing just three rebounds. He attempted just one shot the rest of the way and finished with 11 points.
    J.J. Redick was Orlando's biggest threat, scoring 26 points on 9-for-10 shooting — including 5 for 6 on 3-pointers. Jameer Nelson added 14 points and nine rebounds.
    Bucks 110, 76ers 102
    At Milwaukee, Ersan Ilyasova had 27 points and 16 rebounds, Brandon Jennings scored 25 points and Milwaukee won for the sixth time in eight games since Jim Boylan replaced Scott Skiles as coach.
    Monta Ellis added 18 points and 10 assists for the Bucks who lost the last four before Skiles parted ways with the team.
    Evan Turner scored 23 points to lead the 76ers, Spencer Hawes added 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Nick Young scored had 20 points. Philadelphia lost its fifth straight on the road, and 15th in its last 21 overall.
    The Sixers cut the Bucks' lead to 90-86 when Thaddeus Young stole the ball and scored on a breakaway layup with 6:47 remaining. Ilyasova made a free throw to extend Milwaukee's lead to 99-92 with 3:56 left. He then hit a jumper with about 21/2; minutes to go, stretching the advantage to nine points.
    After Hawes' baseline jumper trimmed the lead to 101-94, Milwaukee made 4 of 6 free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
    Cavaliers 95, Celtics 90
    At Cleveland, Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter, including several key late baskets, to help Cleveland get back-to-back home wins for the first time this season.
    Irving scored 11 points in the final 2:33 on four layups and three free throws as the Cavaliers sent Boston to its season-high fourth straight loss. Irving shot 16 for 24 — setting a career high for field goals made — and fell one point short of his career-best scoring total, set at New York on Dec. 15.
    Tristan Thompson added 21 points for the Cavaliers.
    Rajon Rondo led Boston with 17 points while Kevin Garnett scored 16. Paul Pierce, who scored 40 points in a 103-91 win over the Cavaliers in Boston on Dec. 19, finished with 12 points on 3-for-15 shooting.
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