Chris Paul made a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 32 points to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat Oklahoma City 122-105 on Monday in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal.
In the Eastern Conference semifinals opener, Bradley Beal scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and Trevor Ariza added 22 to lead the Washington Wizards past the top-seeded Indiana Pacers 102-96.
Paul, who had never made more than five 3-pointers in a game, had 10 assists. “When somebody’s got it going like that, you just try to stay out of the way as much as possible, but also help keep that fire going,’’ Clippers forward Blake Griffin said.
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Blake Griffin scored 23 points, Jamal Crawford had 17 and J.J. Redick added 12 for the Clippers, who shot 55 percent from the field and made 15 of 29 3-point attempts.
Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, Kevin Durant had 25 and Serge Ibaka added 12 for the Thunder, who suffered their worst home loss since moving to Oklahoma City.
“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. We just have to be more physical.’’
The Clippers scored 23 points off Oklahoma City’s 18 turnovers. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.
Wizards outwit Pacers
The Wizards won a second-round game for the first time since 1982 and are 4-0 on the road in this year’s playoffs. They ended a 12-game losing streak at Indiana that dated to April 18, 2007, and they did it by nearly leading from wire-to-wire.
Paul George and George Hill had 18 points each for Indiana. The Wizards trailed only once, 31-30, and took control with a 17-6 run to close the first half that made it 56-43. Indiana couldn’t get closer than five points in the second half.
Game 2 is Wednesday night at Indiana. The Pacers have lost both of their playoff series’ openers and will face another uphill battle — just days after rallying from a 3-2 deficit to beat Atlanta Hawks in seven games in the first round.