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. - When the Oklahoma City Thunder were down by 16 points and struggling to make any shot early in Game 6, they looked all but ready to fold up and head home for a series-deciding finale. Instead, Kevin Durant shouldered the Thunder and carried them into the fourth quarter, where they demonstrated the poise of a championship contender. Durant had 39 points and 16 rebounds, and Oklahoma City advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 104-98 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 on Thursday night. Russell Westbrook overcame a slow start to finish with 19 points and 12 assists as the Thunder reached the conference finals for the third time in four years, closing out Los Angeles with two straight wins. Two days after the Thunder erased a late 13-point deficit to win Game 5, the Thunder rallied from that early deficit and maintained their lead throughout the fourth quarter, shaking off any memories of their Game 4 collapse on the same Staples Center court. "Experience has helped us out a lot, just being with each other for so long," Durant said. "Weve got a long ways to go. We definitely can get better. This is definitely a series that pushed us to the brink. We were in a tough spot. We stayed together and persevered." The league MVP hit five 3-pointers and Reggie Jackson added 14 points for Oklahoma City, which will face the Spurs in a rematch of the Wests last two champions. The series begins Monday night in San Antonio. Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists, and Blake Griffin had 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists before fouling out as the Clippers exhausting post-season ended in disappointment. Perhaps the cumulative pressure of two playoff series amid the distractions of owner Donald Sterlings lifetime ban finally cost the two-time Pacific Division champion Clippers, who couldnt keep up late. Or perhaps Durant is just that good. "We did a great job of sticking together," Westbrook said. "Kevin did a great job of setting his guys up, getting the ball in spots that were effective." J.J. Redick scored 16 points for the Clippers, who followed their epic collapse in Game 5 with a disappointing second half at home. Despite a raucous home crowd, Los Angeles wont make its first trip to the conference finals after the best regular season in franchise history. "Oklahoma City absolutely deserves it," said Paul, whose final-minute mistakes hurt the Clippers dearly in Game 5. "We have a really good team, a great team. Its crazy. You play all season long, and the last few games, we really started to figure out who our team was and how to play. And its crazy that its over." The Clippers led for almost every minute of the first three quarters, but Durant kept the Thunder close and eventually ignited a 30-10 run stretching across the final two quarters. Westbrook, who didnt have a field goal until late in the third quarter, contributed 10 points in the fourth as the Thunder comfortably maintained their lead. The fans frustration boiled over after an offensive foul call against Griffin with 3:11 to play. During the ensuing timeout, fans threw at least two drinks at referee Ed Malloy, causing a slight delay while the floor was cleaned. Griffin fouled out with 2:27 left, but the Clippers got within four points in the final minute before Westbrook and Durant hit free throws to close it out. The loss ended a tumultuous post-season for the Clippers, who managed to win a seven-game series with Golden State in the first round even while Sterling was banned from the NBA for life for racist comments exposed during that series. "Weve gone through a lot of stuff over the last three or four weeks," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I dont think that was why we didnt win. I dont think we should use that as an excuse. Were a team in process. I believe we were good enough to win it this year. Oklahoma City told us we were not." Oklahoma City smoothly secured its spot in the conference finals after these teams traded spectacular collapses in the last two games. The Thunder blew a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 4 at Staples Center, but the Clippers responded by blowing a 13-point lead in the final four minutes in Oklahoma City. The Clippers showed little carry-over from their collapse early in Game 6, while the Thunder appeared a step slow and disorganized, falling behind by 16 points in the first half. Durant and Westbrook combined to miss their first nine shots, but Durant quickly got going. NOTES: Serge Ibaka scored six points before going to the locker room in the third quarter with an injured left calf. ... The NBA fined Rivers $25,000 on Thursday for his criticism of the officiating in Game 5. "I thought it was deserved," Rivers said. ... Matt Damon, Rihanna, Tony Romo, Oscar De La Hoya, UFC President Dana White, former Clippers guard Eric Gordon and Masters champion Bubba Watson attended the game. Jack Nicholson watched from a seat near the Clippers bench. The archetypal Lakers fan also has occasionally attended Clippers games over the years. nfl jerseys china
. Anthony Calvillo, through 20 CFL seasons, was frequently invincible and largely stoic in the heat of competition. But underneath the professional exterior he was, and is, compellingly human. wholesale jerseys
. -- LaMarcus Aldridge knew when it was his time.Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says his series and NASCAR wont be competing for the same motorsport fans in Texas when they hold races 190 miles apart in November. Ecclestone dismissed on Wednesday any clash between the series, after the top executive at Texas Motor Speedway called F1 "arrogant" for scheduling the United States Grand Prix in Austin on the same weekend that his track hosts NASCAR in Fort Worth. "I absolutely think its foolish," said Eddie Gossage, the track president and general manager. "Its a shot fired by Formula One at NASCAR. I cant say I was surprised because Bernie Ecclestone does a lot of foolish things. The thing he unfortunately doesnt recognize is there is an 800-pound gorilla when it comes to major American motorsports. The 800-pound gorilla is NASCAR." Texas Motor Speedway will host NASCARs Texas 500 on Nov. 2, the same day F1 will hold its only race in the U.S. this year. Fort Worth is about a 3-hour drive from Austin. While Gossage thought a stronger stance by the management at Circuit of the Americas would have prevented the scheduling issue, Ecclestone believed it was a non-issue. "Ive also spoken to the people that run the race at COTA and their position is thhat they believe the NASCAR crowd is a different crowd to Formula One, different people, different customers," Ecclestone said. wholesale nfl jerseys
. "At the end of the day, they run a domestic series in America -- we run a world championship." F1 requires considerable logistical planning by the teams, he said. "Weve a small problem they (NASCAR) dont have -- we have six jumbo jets to move around all our equipment, and we have to find the most sensible way to use them to do that," Ecclestone said. "We have to be efficient and bear in mind we may also encounter problems at an airport. "There are issues that can occur, but (Gossage) and other people do not realize these things. The race prior to the one in the U.S. is in Russia, in Sochi. Weve never been before, and we have to get out of there and into Austin. That is probably a lot easier than trying to get into Brazil, and then we have to get out of there (Sao Paulo) to go to Abu Dhabi." Gossage said F1 could have found another weekend to race in the U.S. "Its just not smart," he said. "Theres 52 weeks in the year. But that was the only weekend that Formula One could make it work in Austin, Texas. Give me a break." cheap jerseys cheap jerseys from china
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