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Thunder Collapse, Clippers Tie Series 2-2

Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder got out of hand early. Playing on the road, the Thunder were clicking on all cylinders in the first half, amassing a 22-point lead at one point.

The Clippers hadn’t come back from a deficit that large all season, and with no answer for Kevin Durant, coming out to play the second half seemed like nothing more than a formality. They were able to make up some ground, but still trailed by 15 points early in the fourth.

That’s right about the time the home team came alive, breathing some much needed life into the crowd at Staples Center, which had previously had been as enthusiastic as the waiting room at the dentist.

Although, looking back at the game, it’s hard to tell if it was the Clippers that actually turned things around, or the Thunder just completely self-destructed. Durant and Russell Westbrook, who went unchecked through three quarters, suddenly couldn’t buy a basket.

Los Angeles’ superstar point guard Chris Paul missed all five of his shots in the third, but turned it around with six straight points in the fourth to get his team within six. Blake Griffin, who led the Clips in scoring, stopped picking up fouls and started playing some legit defense—proving miracles do happen.

Said Griffin after the game, “Everybody kept telling each other, ‘Chip away, chip away.’ That was kind of our mentality for the rest of the game. We just kept fighting.”

With the series heading back to Oklahoma City for Game 5, the Clippers more or less willed themselves to a win. When teams go on the road down 3-1 in the playoffs, they rarely return home with another game to play.

Game 5 is Monday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Tipoff is 9:30 PM EST.

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