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NBA: Thunder sweep season series from Clippers

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Oklahoma City Thunder's playoff push gathered steam on Sunday with a 108-104 NBA victory over the Los Angeles Clippers behind a 35-point performance from Kevin Durant.

Russell Westbrook finished with 29 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists for the Thunder, who swept the season series against the Clippers.

Forward Serge Ibaka had a strong game for the Thunder as he manhandled Clippers star Blake Griffin several times under the basket and finished with 16 points and two blocks in front of a crowd of 19,371.

Ibaka took his aggressive play too far at one point and was nearly ejected after he delivered a hard slap to Griffin's groin late in the game, a move which earned him a foul.

The Clippers were the hotter of the teams heading into Sunday's crucial matchup as they had won four in a row and eight of their last nine.

But Westbrook's baseline jumper with 26 seconds left in the fourth quarter gave Oklahoma City some much needed breathing room in a contest that was close to the final buzzer.

"I expect our guys to be able to fight and get us back in the game," said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. "We were more aggressive in the second half but turnovers and free throws were the difference.

"We had our opportunities but we didn't convert down the stretch."

The second place Thunder improved to 43-16 on the season and now lead the third place Clippers (43-19) by one and a half games in the Western Conference standings.

Chris Paul had 26 points, eight assists and pulled down six rebounds, Griffin had 20 points and nine rebounds and Jamal Crawford scored 20 in the loss.

The Thunder completed a season sweep over the Clippers that included winning 117-111 in over-time on November 21 in Oklahoma City and by 12 points on January 22 in Los Angeles.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130303/nba-thunder-sweep-season-series-clippers