With four minutes left in Game 5, on their on floor and their offense languishing, the Oklahoma City Thunder trailed by 13, 101-88.
Kevin Durant was 3-17, comfortably the worst performance of his playoff career.
Then, by sheer force of will and a few beneficial calls in the dying minutes, the Thunder found a way.
Durant hit a pair of threes and a transition layup, Reggie ackson found a loose ball under the rim and Russell Westbrook hit a trio of free-throws on a questionable foul call with 6.7 seconds to play.
Doc Rivers was furious with the officials, who ruled a ball out of bounds to the Thunder when replays suggested Jackson deflected it last. The resultant play led to Westbrook being fouled shooting a three, another tight call with minimal contact from Chris Paul.
All told, the Thunder overhauled a seven-point deficit in the final 49 seconds to earn the chance to close out this series on the road in Game 6.
Westbrook’s three free-throws gave him 38 points as he has consistently been the offensive juggernaut during these playoffs. His output in Game 5 adequately made up for Durant until he hit his key shots in the last four minutes.
Westbrook is now averaging more than 29 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds in this series after having a stretch of three triple-doubles in five games.
During the stretch, DeAndre Jordan also fouled out on a questionable call as he was caught setting an illegal screen on Westbrook to free Paul.
Jordan was scoreless, but his frontcourt partner Blake Griffin was explosive, scoring 24 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Chris Paul had 17 points and 14 assists.
Oklahoma City Thunder:
Russell Westbrook: 38 points, 11-23 FGS, 6 assists, 14-16 FTS
Kevin Durant: 27 points, 6-22 FGS, 10 rebounds, 12-12 FTS
Serge Ibaka: 8 points, 4-8 FGS, 7 rebounds
Los Angeles Clippers:
Blake Griffin: 24 points, 10-20 FGS, 17 rebounds
Chris Paul: 17 points, 6-16 FGS, 14 assists
Jamal Crawford: 19 points, 7-22 FGS
Game 6 @LAC: Thursday, May 16th. Tip: 10:30pm ET