AUBURN HILLS, Mich. â€” Perhaps the Thunder should consider reviving those contract negotiations with Jeff Green.
With two days remaining to iron out a deal, Oklahoma City might still be able to get him re-signed at good market value. Who knows what the price tag will skyrocket to should Green preserve his two-game pace and sustain the clutch standard he has officially set?
One day after management confirmed that Greenâ€™s contract extension talks have died, Green rescued the Thunder with a game-winning layup with 2.5 seconds remaining to lift Oklahoma City to a 105-104 victory over Detroit on Friday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Greenâ€™s heroics came after Kevin Durant, the face of the franchise who did receive an extension, split a pair of free throws that would have put the Thunder ahead by three with 14.1 seconds remaining. Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva capitalized by knocking down a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Pistons its first lead of the second half with 7.5 seconds left to play.
â€œI was kicking myself,â€ Durant said about his miss at the line.
Durant, though, had a chance to atone for his uncharacteristic foul up at the foul line. But when Thabo Sefolosha inbounded the ball to Green, Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince overplayed Durant and prevented a clean pass off.
With the clock ticking, Green improvised. He put the ball on the floor and barreled his way past Jason Maxiell for the game-winner.
Ben Gordon, who had nearly stolen the victory for Detroit by scoring 14 fourth-quarter points on 4-for-6 shooting, then had a mental meltdown as he dribbled the final ticks off the clock near halfcourt without getting a shot off.
Green was mobbed by his teammates near the Thunderâ€™s bench. Durant, grinning from ear to ear, was the last to walk up and congratulate his pal.
â€œI owe him something,â€ Durant said.
It was the third game-clinching play Green has made in a Thunder uniform, joining his jumper off the glass at Golden State two seasons ago and his poster dunk and three-point play on Atlantaâ€™s Josh Smith last season that extended a two-point lead to five in the waning seconds.