NBA Playoffs: Clippers' Paul, Collison stand tall in big run, push series to 2-2

After an uncommonly close set of first-round series, the NBA has been marked by several blowout wins in the current stage of the postseason. 

The Oklahoma City Thunder appeared on pace for one of those games on Sunday. The Thunder, who held a 2-1 series lead, pushed out to a 20-point lead within the first nine minutes of regulation.

The Los Angeles Clippers didn't take a lead until there was 1:23 left in the fourth quarter. They eclipsed the Thunder late, but the Clippers' 101-99 Game 4 win was rooted in a longtail comeback that started at 9:18 in the fourth quarter. 

From that moment, when the Thunder led 82-66, the Clippers went on a 35-19 run sparked by Chris Paul and Darren Collison. The Clippers' 22-point comeback, which was one of the largest in recent years, featured heavy doses of each point guard.  

Paul and Collison made for a good pairing as teammates in New Orleans, and they put together a throwback performance on Sunday. Paul posted 23 points and 10 assists while Darren Collison added 18 points and seven rebounds, including several clutch plays and 12 fourth-quarter points. 

Paul's effect on the game came on defense, as he worked to stifle Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter. Paul played tight on Durant, positioning himself under the NBA's best scorer to disrupt his ability to move freely and create shots.

Durant, who still scored 40 points on 12-of-24 shooting, made a critical turnover when Paul and Collison put together a double team of the ball. Durant wasn't bottled in the least, but he was in obvious discomfort. So was the Thunder as a team down the stretch, and the Clippers capitalized.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is beaten and battered each time he steps out on the court, and that is heightened in the NBA Playoffs. 

But it doesn't get any worse than the shot Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka made to the groin of Griffin.

As Griffin went up to shoot, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins pushed Ibaka toward Griffin. That is no excuse, though, because it certainly looked as if Ibaka made an extra effoirt to catch Griffin below the belt.

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