High 5: Thunder Completes Miracle Comeback, Leads Series 3-2

Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 12:45 am
By: News 9

Anything you can do, I can do better.  

One game after losing a double-digit fourth-quarter lead, the Thunder summoned their own miracle on Tuesday night.  

Oklahoma City scored eight points in the final 49 seconds and pulled out a crazy 105-104 win in Game 5. More on that shortly. 

The Thunder certainly wasn't going to have to worry about blowing a big lead this time.  Los Angeles controlled play throughout the first quarter and seized a 34-25 lead after one.  

Oklahoma City opened the second on a 14-4 run and took a 39-38 lead on a Steven Adams dunk with 7:56 to play.  Los Angeles immediately answered with a 12-2 burst to increase the lead back to 11.  The Thunder cut the lead to seven and trailed 58-52 at the half.  

OKC shot just 38 percent from the floor in the half, so things definitely could have been worse.  Free throw shooting kept the Thunder close as OKC hit 22-25 from the line, while only attempting eight 3-pointers.

Serge Ibaka finished the half with 0 points and 0 rebounds in just six minutes as he battled foul trouble.

The two teams swapped 28 points in the third quarter and the Clippers took an 86-80 lead into the fourth. 

RELATED: Thunder 105, Clippers 104: By The Numbers

Skipping ahead to less than a minute to play, Chris Paul drilled a jumper with 49 seconds left to put LA up 104-97.  Things looked bleak for the Thunder as many fans began to head toward the exits.  

Cue the miracle.

Kevin Durant pulled up and nailed a 3-pointer with 43 seconds to cut the lead to 104-100. With 17 seconds to play, Durant leaked out and finished a tough layup in traffic to cut it to 104-102.  

It looked like OKC would have to foul, but Westbrook stole the ball off the inbounds pass and found Reggie Jackson cutting to the rim.  

Jackson lost the ball out of bounds, and after extensive replays, the officials ruled that OKC should retain possession.  Jackson and the Thunder wanted a foul call on Matt Barnes.  Barnes and Los Angeles believed that the ball deflected off of Jackson's hand out of bounds.  

It was a mess that quickly turned into one of the most controversial calls of the playoffs.  

"They made a horrendous call," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after the game.  "It was our ball.  Everybody knows it was our ball. I think the bottom line is they thought it was a foul and they made up for it."  

Don't count the Thunder as part of that "everybody."

"I saw four or five replays. One of the things I know is that Reggie did get fouled," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.  "I couldn't tell who the ball was hit off of. If it's not conclusive, they have to go with what they called."

"We got robbed because of that call," Rivers reiterated.  "And it's clear, everybody in the arena saw it. That's why everybody was shocked when they said Oklahoma City. That was our ball. Whether it was a foul or not, it was, but they didn't call it."

NBA official Tony Brothers issued the following statement about the call postgame:

"When the ball goes out of bounds the ball was awarded to Oklahoma City. We go review the play. The two replays we saw were from the overhead camera showing down, and one from under the basket showing the same angle, but from a different view. And from those two replays, 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."

Despite the chaos, the Thunder maintained possession.  With an extra life, Westbrook elected to try a 3-pointer for the lead and drew a foul with just six seconds to play.  Westbrook drained all three free throws and gave the Thunder a lead.

The Clippers called time to advance the ball, but Paul had the ball knocked away by Jackson as he looked for a winning shot.

The Thunder sprinted around the court, embracing one another in excitement and disbelief.  Some of the Clippers wanted words with the officials, while others stood there in shock.  

Paul chose not to discuss the officiating in detail, instead putting the loss on his shoulders.

"This is probably the toughest thing I've been through, basketball-wise," Paul said. "Everything that happened near the end is on me. Just bad basketball."  

But Rivers wasn't quite done.  

"I don't wanna hear that they didn't have that replay, that's a bunch of crap and y'all know it," Rivers said emphatically.  "We did our own stuff, we shoulda never lost that game. We made a comedy of errors. Having said that, we still have the right to win the game if the call says it's our ball and that didn't happen. And that's too bad for us.  That could be a series-defining call, and that's not right."

Westbrook led Oklahoma City with a spectacular performance.  Russ finished with 38 points on 11-23 shooting, including 14-16 from the line.  He also dished out six assists and grabbed five boards.  

Durant, who at one point was 3-17, finished strong.  The MVP finished with 27 points on 6-22 shooting while grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out five assists.  

Westbrook's relentless attacking kept the Thunder in the game despite Durant's poor shooting.  

"Kevin comes to me and tells me to stay aggressive regardless of what's going on," Westbrook said. "The game will tell you what to do. When the game gets kinda out of whack, as a point guard my job is to figure out what it is that we need. Rebounding, scoring, passing, whatever it is that we need to keep us in the game."

Durant lauded his All-Star teammate postgame. 

"Russ carried us the whole game," Durant said. "Definitely put me in position to go out there and hit those (late) shots."

Blake Griffin's 24 points and 17 rebounds led Los Angeles. Paul added 17 points and 14 assists, while Barnes chipped in 16 points and 10 boards.  

It was one of the wildest comebacks in franchise history. So wild in fact, that Durant said he's never seen anything quite like it.  

"I've never seen a game like this with us," Durant explained.  "We're gonna fight to the end no matter what happens we're gonna lay it out there.  We fought through it all, persevered through it all. So much happened in the game but we just stuck together as a team."

Game 6 is Thursday night in Los Angeles.