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MailTribune.com
  • Thunder back in West finals

  • LOS ANGELES — 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.
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  • LOS ANGELES — 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.
    The Clippers were in control for most of the first three quarters. But the league MVP kept the Thunder close and eventually ignited a 30-10 run stretching across the final two quarters. Westbrook, who didn't have a field goal until late in the third quarter, contributed 10 points in the fourth as the Thunder comfortably maintained their lead.
    The fans' frustration boiled over after an offensive foul call against Griffin with 3:11 to play. During the ensuing timeout, fans threw at least two drinks at referee Ed Malloy, causing a slight delay while the floor was cleaned.
    Griffin fouled out with 2:27 left, but the Clippers got within four points in the final minute before Westbrook and Durant hit free throws to close it out.
    Pacers 93, Wizards 80
    At Washington, David West scored 29 points, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Washington Wizards to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight year.
    Lance Stephenson added 17 points and eight assists for the Pacers, who won the series 4-2 over the Wizards. They will host Game 1 against the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat on Sunday. Indiana took the Heat to seven games in the conference finals a year ago.
    The Wizards took a one-point lead with 81/2; minutes to play, but they scored only two field goals the rest of the way as the Pacers closed with a 20-6 run.
    Marcin Gortat scored 19 points for the Wizards, who ended their best playoff run in decades.
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