Westbrook finishes off comeback as Thunder seal comeback.
The Oklahoma City Thunder staged a stunning late rally in the final minute to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers and take a 3-2 series lead on Tuesday night.
Point guard Russell Westbrook scored 38 points and made three free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining to help the Thunder overcome a seven-point deficit in the final 50 seconds to take Game 5.
“I think when you get a win like this it brings everybody closer,” Westbrook said. “It lets you know you can’t mess around. You have to take every moment, every play and go out and win the game.”
However, the play that led to Westbrook’s free throws is in dispute with Clippers coach Doc Rivers insisting that they were robbed of the victory by a wrong out-of-bounds call which should have given possession to his team with 11.3 seconds remaining.
After the Thunder got back possession, Westbrook was fouled by Chris Paul whilst shooting a three before the Clippers point guard was unable to win the game after he drove to the basket but had the ball stolen by Reggie Jackson.
Paul conceded after the game that it was just “bad basketball” from him at the end but ultimately he will not be blamed for the loss as Rivers was incensed by the previous decision.
Blake Griffin had 24 points and 17 rebounds while Jamal Crawford added 19 points and Paul had 17 points and 14 assists, but it wasn’t enough for the visitors who now head back to Staples Center for Game 6 looking to stay in the series.
Over in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Wizards kept their hopes alive with a blow out road win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5.
Marcin Gortat put up the best playoff game of his career with 31 points and 16 rebounds while John Wall scored a playoff-best 27 points as Washington secured a rout.
Gortat insisted after the game that the team are playing without anything to lose and with a hint of desperation, and despite some demoralising losses they came back strong with Wall breaking free and Gortat dominating inside to lead a 62-23 rebounding edge.
In contrast, David West conceded that his team just didn’t turn up to play, and they will hope to close-out the series at the second time of asking but will have to do so on the road.
Washington Wizards 102-79 Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Clippers 104-105 Oklahoma City Thunder