No player characterized the team's struggles like Westbrook, who had three turnovers on consecutive possessions. Those giveaways gave the Spurs an opening.
San Antonio whittled the Thunder's lead down bit by bit. First the Spurs got a 3-pointer from Stephen Jackson, then a layup from Tim Duncan and then another. Duncan then hit a pair of free throws. Before you knew it, Manu Ginobili stood at the stripe set to cap an 11-0 run with another set of foul shots.
“We stuck together,” Brooks said. “We had a couple of bad stretches but we didn't break. We battled through that.”
After Westbrook's jumper, the Thunder got Tony Parker to miss a 16-foot jumper, which Westbrook contested wonderfully without fouling. Westbrook missed a driving layup at the other end, and Duncan made the Thunder pay by banking in a shot on a cross-match that had Harden covering him in the post.
The Thunder led 103-101 with 50.1 seconds left.
The AT&T Center crowd was on its feet. The noise was darn near deafening.
Harden then sent everyone home hoping this series returns to San Antonio for a Game 7. He hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc over Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard with just two seconds left on the shot clock.
It gave the Thunder a 106-101 lead with 28.8 seconds remaining.
“We were in the same situation going into the fourth up nine that we were in Game 1,” Westbrook said. “And during the timeout, guys came together and said, ‘We're not letting this happen again.'
“We all came together, became closer, and I think we hit two big shots and kind of willed us to a win.”
The Thunder now sits one away from its destination.