LOS ANGELES — The scene played out much like it has so many times this season. On the road. Down by one. 1.6 seconds remaining. Only this time, it was the Thunder that walked out winners, stealing a 122-121 victory over Golden State and sending an Oracle Arena crowd home as stunned as the Ford Center faithful has been three times this season. Jeff Green’s 16-foot bank shot as time expired against the Warriors on Wednesday night could hold much more significance than the first game-winner in Thunder history and of Green’s young career. Green’s back-breaking buzzer-beater could go down as the shot that changed a season. The Thunder can now walk into tonight’s game against the injury-ravaged Los Angeles Clippers with confidence. But in a larger scope, Green’s shot served as a boost to morale and as a symbol that everything the Thunder has worked on over the past month is paying off. "It’s good for us to hit a game-winner,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "We’ve had a couple of those against us in our building... He obviously hit a big shot. It was an opportunity for our guys to continue to get better at closing out games.” The Thunder got it right Wednesday after fumbling away opportunities throughout the first 2 months. There was the botched lob pass to Green in Detroit that could have sent the game into overtime after Allen Iverson’s go-ahead fadeaway with 0.2 seconds left. There were the two failed attempts inside the final minute in New Jersey — a Kevin Durant missed 21-footer and another botched lob play, this time intended for Russell Westbrook with 0.5 seconds remaining in regulation before the Nets prevailed in overtime. Durant also missed a potential game-tying 20-footer with less than 10 seconds remaining against Houston on Jan. 9 before the Rockets escaped with a two-point win. And who can forget the Ford Center heartbreaks? The Carmelo Anthony 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left on Jan. 2. The Mike Miller baseline buzzer-beater for Minnesota in late November. Matt Barnes’ game-clinching 3 for Phoenix with 25.7 seconds left. "It feels great,” Green said of finally being on the winning end. "We’ve been playing hard all season and playing well against great teams only to have great players hit tough shots on us at the last second.” The only thing the Thunder did differently Wednesday was make the shot. Green curled off a screen from Nenad Krstic and proved to be a solid second option on the play behind Durant. "He’s been doing that all season,” Durant said. "It might not have been buzzer beaters, but he comes up big for us a lot late in the games. That’s just ordinary Jeff. That was a big-time shot. He practices that a lot. So it’s good to see him win the game for us with it.” Ultimately, it could prove to be more than just an ordinary game-winner.
BLOG: Thunder rumblings
Thunder at Clippers→When: 9:30 tonight →Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles →TV: FSOK (Cox 37) →Radio: WWLS-AM 640, FM 98.1
Coming SundayThunder standout Kevin Durant is an NBA All-Star in the making. How long will it take Durant to become one of the elite?