OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder trailed the Los Angeles Clippers by seven points with 49 seconds left in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series Tuesday night.
That is when Oklahoma City’s top players brought the thunder, scoring the game’s last eight points to win 105-104 and take a 3-2 series lead.
Forward Kevin Durant hit a 3-pointer and a layup and guard Russell Westbrook hit three clutch free throws to lead their team to victory.
Game six is Thursday in Los Angeles.
Despite forward Kevin Durant’s off night by his lofty standards — 27 points on just 6-for-22 shooting — the Thunder kept fighting back with chances to take the lead in the fourth.
But each time it seemed like Clippers reserve guard Jamal Crawford had an answer. Whether it was a jump shot or drive to the basket, the shot maker became a momentum stopper.
That included draining a 3-pointer to push the lead to 101-88 with less than four minutes left in the game.
Westbrook, who led all scorers with 38 points, and Durant made back-to-back jumpers to cut lead to eight points with 3:19 on the clock. Durant then knocked down a pair of free and Jackson got a breakaway layup to Oklahoma City within four.
The Clippers went to forward Blake Griffin, who was fouled on a drive. He made the first but missed the second free throw attempts. However, Los Angeles got the rebound and guard Chris Paul made the Thunder pay with a jumper with 49 seconds on the clock.
Durant then scored five straight to get the Thunder within two points before Westbrook stole the ball from Paul and passed it to guard Reggie Jackson for a layup attempt. It was knocked out of bounds.
The ball stayed with the Thunder and Paul fouled Westbrook on a 3-point attempt. He made all three to give Oklahoma City a one point advantage with six seconds left.
The Clippers got the ball to Paul and he drove to the basket, but Jackson deflected it and Ibaka came up with the steal to seal the win.
Griffin led the Clippers with 24 points and 17 rebounds. Paul added 17 points and 14 assists. Crawford came off the bench to score 19.
NOTES: Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks was asked why he often makes fun of his 13 year NBA career. “I was an average player,” Brooks said. “I was better than most. But I was an average player.” …. A day after hearing Clippers owner Donald Sterling direct a tirade at him during an interview on CNN, Magic Johnson responded. “He’s trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen,” Johnson said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “The Board of Governors now have to do their job. Adam Silver, our commissioner of the NBA, did a wonderful job of banning him for life. Now the Board of Governors have got to do their job.” … The NBA announced Tuesday the stops Basketball Without Borders will be making this summer. They include Taipei, Taiwan, Rome, Italy and Johannesburg, South Africa. Oklahoma City G Thabo Sefolosha will lead the contingent of coaches and current and former NBA players to Johannesburg Aug. 5-8.
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