OKC Thunder: Thunder come back to beat Clippers, take 3-2 series lead

by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 14, 2014

One epic collapse deserves another.

On Sunday, it was the Thunder blowing a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead and squandering an opportunity to seize a commanding series lead.

Two nights later, it was the Los Angeles Clippers who threw away a chance at victory with laughable late-game execution.

When they did, the Thunder survived a wild and crazy Game 5 and took a 3-2 series lead following a 105-104 win in a game Oklahoma City never had any business being in down the stretch.

Los Angeles held a 13-point lead inside the final four minutes but watched the Thunder close the game on an improbable 17-3 run.

The Thunder trailed by as many as 15 points and never led by more than two all night.

“This was one of the most amazing games that you could possibly be a part of,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “An amazing 18,000-plus fans and our 15 guys locked in. We found a way to just get it done. We talked about that before the game. We just got to get it done. Whatever it takes, just get it done. And we did that tonight.”

Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with a game-high 38 points. He made three game-deciding free throws after being fouled by Clippers guard Chris Paul while shooting a 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds remaining.

Paul then lost the ball on the final possession while probing the lane looking for a potential game-winner.

It was the second of two turnovers for Paul in the final 15 seconds. Westbrook produced the previous giveaway, which eventually led to his game-winning free throws.

“This is probably the toughest thing I’ve ever been through basketball-wise,” Paul said. “Everything that happened there at the end is on me. The turnover with 17 seconds left, assuming they were going to foul, was the dumbest play I probably ever made. And then to even put it in the official’s hand to call a foul on a 3, it’s just bad basketball.”

The Clippers got a taste of what the Thunder experienced in Game 4, when it led by as many as 22 points and held a 16-point lead with a little more than 91/2 minutes remaining.

“We got to keep playing,” Paul said. “This one was bad, though. To work that hard and have the game and to give it away; I kind of pride myself on taking care of the ball and managing games toward the end. None of the guys on the team could have did anything about it. It was just me.”

Oklahoma City can now close out the series Thursday in Game 6 in Los Angeles. The Thunder can only hope Tuesday’s miraculous finish can provide a spark that spurs the team to avoid another forgettable fourth quarter.


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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