Clippers Face Elimination After Thunder Rally In Final Minute, 105-104
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook scored 38 points and made three free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining, and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 50 seconds to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-104 on Tuesday night to go up 3-2 in the Western Conference semifinals.
Westbrook was fouled by Chris Paul while shooting a 3-pointer with the Thunder trailing by two. After his free throws, Paul drove to the hoop, but Reggie Jackson stole the ball from him, and time expired.
Kevin Durant scored 10 of his 27 points in the final 3:23 for the Thunder.
Blake Griffin had 24 points and 17 rebounds, Jamal Crawford scored 19 points and Paul had 17 points and 14 assists for the Clippers.
The Thunder can clinch the series Thursday in Los Angeles.
The Clippers took a 101-88 lead in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Crawford before Durant finally got involved. He hit a 3-pointer with 3:23 remaining on his first shot of the quarter, then drained two free throws to cut the Clippers’ lead to 101-95.
A layup by Jackson cut Los Angeles’ lead to four.
Griffin made the first of two free throws, and Glen Davis grabbed the rebound of the second. Paul’s mid-range jumper on the extra possession gave the Clippers a 104-97 edge with 49 seconds to play.
Durant made a 3-pointer, then Crawford missed in close before Durant made a layup with 17 seconds left. Westbrook stole the ball, and in a scramble, the Thunder got possession with 11.3 seconds to play, setting up Westbrook’s play.
The Thunder fell behind by 15 points in the first quarter but rallied in the second as foul trouble set in for the Clippers. Oklahoma City took a 39-38 lead on a dunk by Steven Adams, but the Clippers regained control.
Paul made a 3-pointer to give the Thunder a 55-45 lead with just over two minutes left in the second quarter. The Thunder cut their deficit to three before J.J. Redick drained a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half.
The Clippers committed 18 fouls in the first half. Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Davis, the team’s primary inside players, all had three fouls at the break.
The Thunder started the second half by taking mostly jumpers, but eventually, they started driving and the fouls again started piling up for the Clippers. Jordan committed his fifth with 4:56 left in the third quarter and Davis committed his fifth with 1:22 left in the period.
The Clippers held Durant to 3-for-17 shooting in the first three quarters and took an 86-80 lead into the fourth.
Notes: Thunder F Serge Ibaka played after the league reviewed his punch to Griffin’s groin in Game 4. . … Westbrook was called for a Flagrant 1 foul in the first quarter after trying to stop Griffin on a breakaway drive to the hoop. … The Clippers were called for a clear path foul when Darren Collison barreled into Jackson, who was passing to a wide-open Westbrook with 2.3 seconds left in the first quarter.
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