The Los Angeles Lakers got what they wanted in Game 2 against the Thunder on Wednesday night.
Keep the game in the 90s or lower – nothing in triple-digits – implored Lakers forward Pau Gasol after getting shellacked 119-90 in Game 1 on Monday.
"Foul them a couple more times (and hope) the refs won't call it," Kobe Bryant suggested on Tuesday, evidently not kidding.
Slow down the tempo and throw in some missed open jumpers from the home team and, presto, the series would be tied at 1-1.
Instead, the game went presto-chango.
With two minutes left in the game, the Thunder had scored just 68 points and the Lakers led by seven.
In the final two minutes, OKC outscored the Lakers 9-0 and won 77-75 in front of a frenzied sellout crowd of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The 77 points were the fewest the Thunder has scored in a victory since arriving in Oklahoma City from Seattle in July 2008.
An ugly game could have been a picture-perfect victory for the Lakers.
Instead, they trail 2-0 going into Game 3 at 9:30 p.m. Friday at Staples Center.
"We're pretty disappointed because we played a really good game to get that lead," Lakers guard Steve Blake said afterward. "They took it from us, but we gave it away at the same time. We've got to be more solid down the stretch."
In typically perplexing fashion, Lakers forward Metta World Peace said: "We'll be all right. We had a lot of good things happen tonight. I don't want to say exactly what happened."
The somewhat inexplicable happened:
- The Thunder scored just 18 points in the first 22 minutes of the second half. In Game 1, OKC scored 39 points in the third quarter alone.
- In Game 1, the Thunder had four turnovers total. In Game 2, guard James Harden (five) and forward Kevin Durant (four) had at least four each.
- The Thunder shot 50 percent in the first half (18 for 36) and 33 percent (11 for 33) in the second half on Wednesday, and still won thanks to the Lakers shooting 38.5 percent for the game and 13.3 percent (2 for 15) from 3-point range.
Despite crumbling in the final two minutes, the Lakers still had one final shot to tie or win.
With 5.7 seconds remaining, the Lakers ran a flare play for a pass to go to Bryant on the far side of the court.
Bryant appeared to be well-covered by Thabo Sefolosha with Serge Ibaka helping off a pick. However, LA coach Mike Brown later described Bryant as "wide-open on the back side."
Bryant said: "I don't know what Metta saw."
Meanwhile, Blake stood alone in the right corner just 15 feet away from where World Peace inbounded the ball.
Thunder defender Russell Westbrook inexplicably had his backed turned to Blake and quickly turned to contest the shot.
"I was there to be an outlet for them, and my man kind of ran away from me," Blake explained. "I'm going to take that shot. It was a good look. I just happened to miss it this time.
"Once I let it go, I kind of knew it was to the right a little bit."