Thunder down Clippers with last-minute rally

(The Sports Xchange) – The Oklahoma City Thunder staged a remarkable last-minute rally to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-104 in Game Five of their Western Conference semi-final series on Tuesday.

Trailing by seven points with just 49 seconds remaining, Oklahoma City’s two leading players scored the game’s last eight points to steal victory in front of a raucous home crowd and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Forward Kevin Durant hit a three-pointer and a layup, and guard Russell Westbrook, who led all scorers with 38 points, nailed three clutch free throws to guide the second-seeded Thunder to victory. “Faith,” Westbrook told reporters of a game the Thunder trailed for most of the night. “We just did a good job of staying together. We kept chipping away and playing together.”

Despite forward 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.

“There was definitely frustration,” Durant said. “I just tried to stick with it. Russ carried us the whole game. Put me in position to go out there and hit those shots and to win the game.”

For a long time a home victory appeared unlikely as each time the Thunder got within range, 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 three-pointer to push the lead to 101-88 with less than four minutes remaining.

Westbrook and Durant made back-to-back jumpers to cut lead to eight points with 3:19 on the clock. Durant then sank a pair of free throws and guard Reggie Jackson got a breakaway layup to get 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 but Oklahoma City refused to concede defeat.

 

CONTENTIOUS CALL

 

Durant scored five straight to get the Thunder within two points before Westbrook stole the ball from Paul and passed it to Jackson for a layup attempt that was knocked out of bounds.

The ball stayed with the Thunder, a call Clippers coach Doc Rivers disagreed with.

“It was our ball,” Rivers said.

“Everybody knows it was our ball. The bottom line is they (officials) thought it was a foul and they made up for it. In my opinion, let’s take away the replay system. Because that’s our ball, we win the game. We got robbed because of that call.”

Los Angeles compounded the problem when Paul fouled Westbrook on a three-point attempt. Westbrook made all three to give Oklahoma City a one-point advantage with six seconds left.

The Clippers still had a chance to steal the victory and got the ball to Paul. He drove to the basket, but Jackson deflected it and forward Serge Ibaka came up with the steal to seal the win.

Latest in Sports

Off-spinner Sunil Narine (left) will be a key member of the West Indies attack.

Confident Windies seek happy ending

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies will seek to write a happy ending to a promising Tri-Nations campaign when they clash with Australia in today’s final, in a contest that brings together the champions of the Twenty20 and 50-overs World Cups.

GABF President Nigel Hinds (sitting centre) displaying an official team jersey in the presence of Director of Sport Christopher Jones (2nd from left sitting) while members of the Guyana Boys and Girls u16 squads and management staff look on

GABF unveils teams for CBC c/ships

The Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) officially unveiled yesterday the Boys and Girls u16 teams that will be representing the nation at the upcoming Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championship on local shores.

default placeholder

Jeffrey crowned Time Trial champion for a third time

Add another National Time-Trial title to Raynauth Jeffrey’s collection. Yesterday, the 22-year old star cyclist put on an epic display of racing against the clock and the inclement weather to earn the title of National Senior Time Trial champion for the third time.

Darren Bravo is one of only two West Indian batsmen to score a century in the current Ballr Tri Series One Day tournament.

Bravo! West Indies never-say-die

For Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel playing in only his second One Day International it was ‘D’ Day at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Friday as West Indies took on South Africa to secure a place in the final of the Bellr Tri-Nation tournament where they will face world champions Australia today.

default placeholder

Mixed fortunes for Floodlights

Floodlights softball cricket team endured mixed fortunes last Sunday when the Wolf’s Challenge Cup softball cricket tournament continued at various ground in Georgetown.

Old Fort’s Aderemi Simon unleashing a powerful shot which was denied by GCC’s Stephen Xavier (behind the goalkeeper) during their matchup at the National Gymnasium.

Old Fort, Pit Bulls secure hard-fought wins

Old Fort and Pit Bulls secured the hard-fought wins over Saints and Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) respectively when the Lucozade Indoor Hockey League continued on Friday at the National Gymnasium on Mandela Avenue.

Domini Alleyne

Mr. Guyana bodybuilding c/ships set for July 10

Fitness fans get ready, the highly anticipated Mr. Guyana Bodybuilding and Fitness Show will be staged on July 10 at the National Cultural Centre.

default placeholder

Pollard praised as leader, match-winner

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Darren Bravo has hailed Kieron Pollard as a “game winner” and a “leader” and said his presence in the West Indies camp has been invaluable.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: