at basket broke a 5 minute, 43 second stretch the Thunder endured without a field goal, reminiscent of the playoff series last year against Dallas that cost OKC a trip to the NBA Finals.
Most everything else was an isolation play that ended in a contested shot or a turnover. Westbrook and James Harden did manufacture points at the foul line during the drought. Westbrook, however, earned his foul shots with a hard driving challenge against Griffin. Harden got the benefit of the doubt from the officials when he appeared to flop out beyond the 3-point arc.
“We got a couple of good looks,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “The last shot, I thought we could have gotten a better shot than that but that’s part of learning and part of understanding what we need. But the execution was not as bad as you might think. We missed some shots down the stretch and that happens.”
In the end, it was Clippers guard Chris Paul who stole the show as the game’s closer. The five-time All-Star answered Durant’s game-tying 3 with a hard driving layup that stood as the game-winner. It capped a 24-point second half in which Paul picked apart the Thunder on 8-of-11 shooting after being held in check in the first 24 minutes and scoring just seven points on 3-of-9 shooting.
“We just got lazy in the second half,” said Harden. “We didn’t come out with that aggression like we did in the first half to really control him and he took advantage of it.”