Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Russell Westbrook added 26 and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 109-97 on Tuesday night in a matchup of teams with the two best records in the NBA.
Serge Ibaka added 17 points before fouling out late while helping the Thunder improve to a league-leading 33-9 and expand their lead in the Western Conference standings to 1½ games over the Clippers, who were without All-Star Chris Paul and fell to 32-11.
Blake Griffin had 31 points and 11 rebounds, and Jamal Crawford added 14 points off the bench. Eric Bledsoe scored 12 points starting in place of Paul, who missed his fourth game because of a bruised right kneecap.
He missed three road wins last week, then played the next two games but it was obvious Paul wasn't himself so he was held out Tuesday.
The Clippers had won four straight at home against the Thunder, and they led much of the first quarter before giving up the lead for good early in the second.
Cavaliers 95, Celtics 90: Count Boston's Doc Rivers as one coach who thinks Kyrie Irving should be on the Eastern Conference All-Star team after Irving scored 15 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter, including several key late baskets.
"He has all the numbers to be an All-Star, for sure," Rivers said. "Whether he makes it or not is another story. ... He's a tough kid, which I don't think people give him enough credit for."
The reserves, who are picked by the respective coaches in each conference for the Feb. 17 game in Houston, will be announced Thursday.
The Celtics have dropped four in a row since winning six straight. Rivers blasted his team following Sunday's 103-88 loss in Detroit, a game which Boston never led. The latest loss dropped Boston to 20-21.
Kings: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson had a stern warning for Seattle SuperSonics fans who are excited about the prospect of the NBA returning to the Puget Sound next season: "Don't celebrate too early," he said.
In front of a cheering City Hall crowd filled with fans and public officials Tuesday, Johnson introduced the first part of his four-step plan to keep the Kings in California's capital city.
He said he has secured 20 investors who have pledged at least $1 million each to be part of a local group to buy the franchise.
Johnson said the major partners he hopes will anchor the last-ditch deal to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle will be revealed as soon as this week.
Etc.: Former NBA player and coach Bill Cartwright has been hired as coach of the Osaka Evessa in Japan's professional basketball league.