However, for more than three quarters, Durant played as if his
mind was still back in the previous contest, a 101-99 Clippers win.
But in the final 49 seconds, he and guard Russell Westbrook, who led
all scorers with 38 points Tuesday, turned their game up a notch,
scoring the game's last eight points to win 105-104 and take a 3-2
Game 6 is Thursday in Los Angeles.
"Faith," Westbrook said. "We just did a good job of staying
together. We kept chipping away and playing together."
Despite forward Durant's off night by his lofty standards -- 27
points on just 6-for-22 shooting -- the Thunder kept fighting back
with chances to take the lead in the fourth.
"There was definitely frustration," Durant said. "I just tried to
stick with it. Russ carried us the whole game. Put me in position to
go out there and it those shots and to win the game."
But each time the Thunder got within range, it seemed like Clippers
reserve guard Jamal Crawford had an answer. Whether it was a jump
shot or drive to the basket, the shot maker became a momentum
stopper. That included draining a 3-pointer to push the lead to
101-88 with less than four minutes left in the game.
Westbrook and Durant made back-to-back jumpers to cut lead to eight
points with 3:19 on the clock. Durant then knocked down a pair of
free throws and guard Reggie Jackson got a breakaway layup to get
Oklahoma City within four.
The Clippers went to forward Blake Griffin, who was fouled on a
drive. He made the first but missed the second free throw attempts.
However, Los Angeles got the rebound and guard Chris Paul made the
Thunder pay with a jumper with 49 seconds on the clock.
Durant then scored five straight to get the Thunder within two
points before Westbrook stole the ball from Paul and passed it to
Jackson for a layup attempt. It was knocked out of bounds. The ball
stayed with the Thunder, a call Clippers coach Doc Rivers didn't
"It was our ball," Rivers said. "Everybody knows it was our ball.
The bottom line is they thought it was a foul and they made up for
it. In my opinion, let's take away the replay system. Because that's
our ball, we win the game. We got robbed because of that call."
Los Angeles compounded the problem when Paul fouled Westbrook on a
3-point attempt. Westbrook made all three to give Oklahoma City a
one point advantage with six seconds left.
The Clippers still had a chance to steal the victory and got the
ball to Paul. He drove to the basket, but Jackson deflected it and
forward Serge Ibaka came up with the steal to seal the win.
[to top of second column]
"Probably the toughest thing I've been through basketball wise,"
Paul said. "It's me. Everything that happened there at the end is on
me. The turnover with 17 seconds left; assuming they are going to
foul is probably the dumbest play I've ever made. Then to even put
it in the official's hand to call a foul on a 3, is just bad
Griffin led the Clippers with 24 points and 17 rebounds. Paul added
17 points and 14 assists. Crawford came off the bench to score 19.
"This is one of the most amazing games that you can possibly be a
part of," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "Amazing, 18,000
plus fans and our 15 guys locked in, found a way to just get it
done. Whatever it takes, just get it done. We did that tonight."
NOTES: NBA crew chief Tony Brother responded to the replay call in
which Oklahoma City was given the ball with 11.3 seconds left. "When
the ball goes out-of-bounds, the ball was awarded to Oklahoma City.
We go to review the play. We saw two replays. The two replays we saw
were from overhead camera showing down and the one from under the
basket showing the same angle but from different view. It was
inconclusive as to who the ball went out-of-bounds off of. When it's
inconclusive, we have to go with the call that was on the floor."
... Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks was asked why he often makes
fun of his 13 year NBA career. "I was an average player," Brooks
said. "I was better than most. But I was an average player." .... A
day after hearing Clippers owner Donald Sterling direct a tirade at
him during an interview on CNN, Magic Johnson responded. "He's
trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his
team. And it's not going to happen. It's not going to happen,"
Johnson said in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. "The Board
of Governors now have to do their job. Adam Silver, our commissioner
of the NBA, did a wonderful job of banning him for life. Now the
Board of Governors have got to do their job." ... The NBA announced
Tuesday the stops Basketball Without Borders will be making this
summer. They include Taipei, Taiwan, Rome, Italy and Johannesburg,
South Africa. Oklahoma City G Thabo Sefolosha will lead the
contingent of coaches and current and former NBA players to
Johannesburg Aug. 5-8.
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