Durant stepped back and hit a jumper from the left corner for two of his 30 points, giving the Thunder an 83-79 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
“It feels good to know that my team has the confidence in me to take those,” he said. “The last game and a couple of games before that I didn’t hit them, but tonight they fell for me. Give the Clippers credit. They fought hard all night and put us in tough positions, but we fought back and won.”
Chris Kaman(notes), the league’s Western Conference player of the week last week, led the Clippers with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Baron Davis(notes) added 17 points and nine assists, and Al Thornton(notes) scored 15 points in the Clippers’ second straight loss.
“We got to move on,” Kaman said. “At this point, we’re doing better than we were last year. We are going to keep on getting better.”
Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said Kaman played with a virus that is contagious, and he was advised to keep him away from the rest of the team. He said Kaman wouldn’t practice Thursday.
“I haven’t been feeling the greatest, but it’s not an excuse,” Kaman said.
Thornton was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 1:28 remaining and made all three free throws to tie it at 79. Rasual Butler(notes) missed a 3 before Durant got the ball in the corner opposite the Clippers’ bench for the winning basket.
“We should have won this game,” Davis said. “We started off pushing and attacking and sharing, and as the game progressed, we just got out of sync. Missing a bunch of easy layups, it’s tough to win like that.”
After a timeout, Kaman was trapped on the baseline and sent a bad pass into the hands of Oklahoma City’s Kevin Ollie(notes) with 27 seconds left. Ollie missed a 3 from nearly the same spot where Durant connected, but was fouled by Marcus Camby(notes) with a second to go.
“I thought I got bumped pretty good going out of bounds and they didn’t make the call,” Kaman said. “It’s one of those ones I wish I could have back.”
The Thunder led 78-71, with Green scoring seven of their first 12 points of the fourth. Davis hit a 3-pointer and Kaman scored to bring Los Angeles within three before Thornton’s free throws tied it up.
The Clippers fell to 0-2 without both rookie Blake Griffin(notes) and Eric Gordon(notes) in the lineup. Griffin is out for up to six weeks with a broken left kneecap, while Gordon will miss up to 10 days with a sore left groin muscle that he injured Saturday.
The Thunder outscored Los Angeles 23-21 in the third, but the Clippers took a 69-66 lead going into the fourth.
Russell Westbrook(notes), Oklahoma City’s second-leading scorer, went down with 4:09 remaining in the third, when Camby stepped left on his left ankle. Westbrook left the court and returned to start the fourth, but finished with 2 points.
“It was just toughness. We didn’t score a lot of points, and I don’t think we shot good from the field,” Ollie said. “Our starting point guard was out there limping a little bit, so we just gutted out and we did it on the defensive end, which we’ve been doing a lot in our games this season.”
The Clippers led 48-43 at halftime, using a 17-9 run to overcome a three-point deficit early in the second quarter. Kaman scored six points and Thornton added five. Durant was held to seven points in the period.
NOTES: Clippers F Craig Smith(notes) played two nights after sustaining a lacerated right eye when he got poked in the eye against New Orleans. … Los Angeles fell to 0-6 when Gordon misses a game because of injury.