LOS ANGELES (AP) – Lou Williams is close to etching his name in the record book as the NBA’s career leader in points off the bench.
He scored 40 points, 19 in the second quarter, to help the Los Angeles Clippers hold off the foul-plagued Oklahoma City Thunder 118-110 on Friday night for their first four-game winning streak since November.
The veteran guard passed former Clipper Jamal Crawford for second in bench scoring. Williams has his sights set on Dell Curry, who owns the record of 11,147 points.
“It means a lot,” Williams said. “That’s part of my legacy and what people will remember about me when I leave the game.”
Danilo Gallinari added 34 points for the Clippers, scoring 15 in the first quarter to help them get off to a strong start. They stretched their lead to 14 points in the second and again in the third.
“We went to the two-man game down the stretch because it was big for us,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “They were trapping Lou, but you can’t trap Lou when Gal is in the pick. They just played off each other really well.”
Russell Westbrook scored 32 points on 12-of-23 shooting for the Thunder before fouling out with 53 seconds left. Paul George, who finished with 15 points, had already fouled out with 3:49 to go. Steven Adams also picked up his sixth foul in the final seconds.
“A lot of those guys, they play to get fouls,” Westbrook said of the Clippers. “That’s how the game is these days. It’s not playing basketball. They’re just kind of playing to get fouls to see what happens.”
George attributed the Thunder’s 34 fouls to “bad officiating.”
“We’re getting scratched, clawed, held, shoved, and there’s nothing for it,” he said. “The officials just get to walk out and there’s nothing that penalizes them for not officiating the game the right way.”
Westbrook’s final basket, a 3-pointer, got the Thunder to 108-107. But it was their last gasp.
The Clippers ended the game on a 10-3 run, making all six of their final free throws. They were 9 of 16 from the foul line in the fourth.
“We just hung in there and did the dirty work,” Rivers said.
Neither team led by more than four over the final seven minutes.
George came off the bench to hit a go-ahead 3-pointer that gave the Thunder a 99-98 lead, their first since scoring the game’s first basket.
But the Clippers grabbed it right back on a basket by Gallinari. He and Williams combined to score the Clippers’ final 15 points.
“We had chemistry,” Williams said. “Gal had it going early and I had it going late.”
With Westbrook and George on the bench, the Thunder got within one early in the fourth on a three-point play by Abdel Nader.
Westbrook returned and put up an airball and missed another jumper. But Markieff Morris hit a 3-pointer that again drew the Thunder within one.
Without Westbrook and George, the Thunder closed the third with a rush. Down by 14, they outscored the Clippers 12-2 to trail 88-84 going into the fourth. Dennis Schroder and Nader hit 3-pointers in the spurt.
Thunder: Five players had four or more fouls. … The teams split the season series 2-2. … Oklahoma City was coming off an overtime win at Portland a night earlier. … The Thunder have lost six of eight.
Clippers: They last won four straight from Nov. 23-29.
Patrick Beverley didn’t score in the game, taking just three shots, but he led the Clippers with his defense. He helped hold George well under his 28.6 average, second-best in the NBA. “I didn’t know that he didn’t score,” Rivers said. “It just tells you his impact. He was playing so well.”
George said he loves Beverley’s passion. “I like the battle, I wish it was just called right,” he said.
Thunder: Visit the Utah Jazz on Monday to end a four-game trip.
Clippers: Host the Boston Celtics on Monday.
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