The possession ruling was one of three critical and controversial calls in the final 15 seconds. Paul claimed he didn’t foul Westbrook on his 3-point attempt, although photographic evidence shows Paul making contact with Westbrook’s right elbow. And on the Clippers’ final possession, Jackson appeared to pull Paul’s right arm as he attempted a pass to Griffin underneath the basket. It resulted in a turnover. No call was made, and time ran out.
“We made our own mistakes,” Rivers conceded. “We turned the ball over. We fouled the 3-point shooter. We did a lot of stuff to lose the game ourselves.”
Thunder coach Scott Brooks stuck to his same tune Wednesday when asked about the controversial finish.
“I thought the replays were inconclusive and they made the right call,” Brooks said. “I thought it was the right call. There’s so many basketball calls in every game, you can break down every play. Good screen, bad screen. Push, not push. Carry the ball, not carry the ball. It’s just part of the game. You play through. You play the game every play and you move to then next play.
“I thought our guys did a great job of putting ourselves in position to win that game. Obviously the odds were stacked against us, but we never put our heads down, and we made big plays. I like the fact that we did that after the game before. We had a lot of opportunities to win that game and did not do that. Give them credit. They made all the big plays in Game 4 and we didn’t play well down the stretch. Next game was the other way.”