- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers was beside himself after the Clippers’ Game 5 loss. He said the referees "robbed" the Clippers of the game and that awarding the ball to the Oklahoma City Thunder toward the end of the game on a controversial replay was a "series-defining" call.
It ended up being just that.
On Thursday night, the Thunder closed out the Clippers 104-98 to advance to the Western Conference finals, in which they will meet the San Antonio Spurs.
The Clippers were in control for much of the game, going up by 16 in the first half and 11 in the third quarter before the Thunder took their biggest lead of the game late in the fourth quarter. OKC was able to fend the Clippers off for the win, putting an end to the season for L.A.
How it happened: The question coming into Game 6 was how the Clippers would respond to the Game 5 loss. They answered much of any doubts early, taking a 14-point lead in the first quarter and a 16-point lead before halftime. They controlled the pace and tempo of the game and basically did what they wanted to do offensively. The Clippers led by as many as 11 points in the third quarter and looked like they would force a Game 7. Then, the Thunder tied the game at the end of the third quarter and, in the fourth quarter, took their first lead since the first quarter. OKC went up by as many as 10 points before holding off a late Clippers rally for the win.
What it means: The Thunder win the series in six games and advance to the Western Conference finals to play the Spurs.
Hits: Blake Griffin had 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists before fouling out of the game with 2:27 left in the game. Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists, while J.J. Redick scored 16. DeAndre Jordan added nine points and 15 rebounds.
Misses: On a night when the Clippers were trying to extend their season and force a Game 7, they needed more from more players. They needed Matt Barnes to go better than 4-for-14 for nine points. They needed Jamal Crawford to score more than four points off the bench. And they needed Danny Granger to do, well, anything (0-for-3 for a single point).
Stat of the game: The Clippers dominated the Thunder in points in the paint (52-28), which was a goal coming into the game that didn’t matter in the end.
Up next: The Clippers season is over, and they will have the next five months to regroup, recover and reload before training camp starts.
14hArash Markazi and Ben Alamar
8dESPN Stats & Information