The Oklahoma City Thunder continued to stake their claim as the best team in the NBA, cruising to a 109-97 road win over the Los Angeles Clippers to snap a streak of four straight losses against that Western Conference foe at Staples Center.
Kevin Durant led the way for the Thunder Tuesday night with an all-around effort, scoring 32 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out seven assists, while main sidekick Russell Westbrook added 26 points and six assists.
Oklahoma City's All-Star duo had come into the game averaging a combined 71.3 points over the previous four games.
Power forward Serge Ibaka, meanwhile, did his part with 17 points and nine rebounds as the Thunder improved their record to a league-best 33-9.
The Clippers were missing star point guard Chris Paul, who has sat out four of his team's last six games due to a bruised right kneecap. But Los Angeles still played well in his absence thanks in part to a big night from power forward Blake Griffin, who scored 31 points and hauled down 11 boards.
Los Angeles, which had not lost to the Thunder on its home floor since March 2010, came out brimming with defensive intensity in grabbing a 12-4 lead.
But the Thunder methodically worked their way into the game and tied it at 22-22 behind the strong play of Ibaka and the 3-point shooting of Kevin Martin, part of a 17-2 run in which Oklahoma City seized a 31-24 lead.
Durant didn't start heating up until shortly before halftime, but he led the Thunder on a 13-4 run at the start of the third quarter that padded their lead.
Griffin's outstanding effort helped keep the Clippers close but they clearly missed the leadership of Paul and also could have used more scoring punch off the bench from sixth man Jamaal Crawford, who finished with just 14 points on 6-of-18 shooting.
The Clippers went on a 7-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter, capped off by a 3-pointer from Crawford, to close the gap to 82-75, but Durant responded by raining down three field goals from behind the arc to effectively put the game out of reach.
Oklahoma City's 3-point shooting was the big difference in the game, with the Thunder making 10 of their first 16 shots from that distance and connecting on 15-of-27 for the full 48 minutes.
The Clippers, meanwhile, made just 4-of-16 of their 3-point shots.
Los Angeles' record fell to 32-11, third-best in the Western Conference behind the Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs.
In other action around the NBA Tuesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers topped the Boston Celtics 95-90, the Detroit Pistons defeated the Orlando Magic 105-90 and the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Philadelphia 76ers 110-102. EFE