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CLIPPERS 101, THUNDER 93Kevin Durant banged in a 14-foot jumper with 4:25 left in the game. One of those roll-around, rattle-around shots that falls when a guy can't seem to miss.

It gave Durant 40 points on the night and cut the Clippers' lead to one.

But Durant stayed stuck on 40 as the Thunder lost 101-93 Sunday night at the Ford Center.

You can't score if you don't shoot.

Down the stretch of yet another close game, the Thunder failed to get its franchise player another shot, save a 25-footer on the meaningless last possession.

The Thunder lost for many reasons. Pushed around by the bigger Clippers. No answer for LA's two-man game of Baron Davis and Chris Kaman. Horrid shooting for much of the game.

But still, the Thunder had a chance to win, even led 93-92 on Russell Westbrook's jumper with 1:59 left. But Oklahoma City never scored again.

"We gotta find him more shots down the stretch," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Durant. "We have to do a better job of finding him easier opportunities to score."

That's the thing. Durant was having one of those nights when he seemed capable of drop-kicking the ball through the hoop.

Durant scored 19 points in the third quarter, when he went 6-of-7 from the field and 6-of-6 from the foul line.

Yet he got no shots in the four minutes that decided the game. And while some of that falls on Westbrook's quarterbacking, some of it falls on Durant himself, who seems content to stay within the flow of the offense.

"I was totally comfortable with those guys taking the shots," Durant said of Westbrook and Jeff Green, who combined to go 1-of-5 those final four minutes.

Here's the problem. Games tighten up in crunch time. Defenders grow fangs. No team in its right mind will give Durant shots in the final minutes. The Thunder will have to make it happen.

Last year, close games weren't all that common for the Thunder . It's different this year. Ten games in, the Thunder has played seven games decided in the final two minutes and gone 3-4.

"This year, we're going to play a lot more close games," Nenad Krstic said.

When it's close, and the offense is stagnant, the Thunder must commit to getting Durant the ball. Durant must commit to demanding the ball.

"I consider myself a scorer," Durant said. "I can find the ball and I can find the basket."

So go do it.

Against the Clippers, the Thunder played fundamentally sound down the stretch. Shared the ball, which is what Brooks stresses.

"Everybody was finding the open guy," Westbrook said. "Just making the right Basketball play."

But sometimes, the right play is getting the ball into the hands of the guy who can't miss.

Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 19, 2009


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