OKLAHOMA CITY – Chris Paul made a career-high eight three-pointers from nine attempts and scored 32 points to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-105 on Monday night in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.
Paul, who previously had not made more than five threes in a game, had 10 assists. Blake Griffin scored 23 points. Jamal Crawford, a graduate of Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, had 17 points for the Clippers, who shot 55 percent from the field and made 15 of 29 three-point attempts.
Russell Westbrook scored 29 points and Kevin Durant added 25 for the Thunder.
“We have to get more physical,” Durant said. “I’m not talking about hard fouls, I’m talking about jamming the lane, fighting through screens and not letting guys run free.”
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Game 2 is Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.
“We just understand that we don’t go into Game 2 with a 17-point lead,” Paul said. “You know, you’ve just got to come back and be hungry and not be satisfied with one.”
Both teams were coming off Game 7 victories in the first round Saturday night.
Oklahoma City opened by taking a 16-10 lead but the Clippers responded with a 24-6 run.
INDIANAPOLIS – Washington keeps finding ways to break through old, stubborn barriers.
Even in the unlikeliest place of all — Indiana.
Bradley Beal scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Trevor Ariza added 22 and the Wizards held off the Pacers with a stout defense over the final 7½ minutes to get a 102-96 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
It was Washington’s first second-round victory in 32 years.
“We know it’s a tough building to play in. We haven’t won here in awhile,” Ariza said after the Wizards snapped a 12-game losing streak in Indy. “Why wouldn’t this be the best time to come here and get a win — in the playoffs?”
The Wizards know there is a lot more work to do.
Game 2 is Wednesday in Indianapolis.
Washington has opened these playoffs with four straight road victories and put the pressure on the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
• Guard Michael Carter-Williams has something to show for being a bright spot in a dismal season for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Carter-Williams won the league’s Rookie of the Year Award after becoming the third player since the 1950-51 season to lead all rookies in scoring (16.7), rebounding (6.3) and assists (6.2).
Oscar Robertson (1960-61) and Alvan Adams (1975-76) were the others.
The Sixers were 19-63 this season and tied a league record by losing 26 consecutive games.
“I’d definitely trade this award to be in the playoffs, in a second,” Carter-Williams said.
• Toronto coach Dwane Casey, a former Sonics assistant coach, received a three-year contract extension, a source told The Associated Press.