'Faith' helps Thunder duo spark remarkable rally
Oklahoma City muster eight points at the death to steal victory against Clippers and take lead in series
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.
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 lay-up, 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 said 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. It looked all over with less than a minute left but Durant scored five straight to get the Thunder within two points before Westbrook stole the ball from Chris Paul and passed it to Reggie Jackson for a lay-up 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."
Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards staved off elimination with a dominant 102-79 win over the Indiana Pacers, narrowing the deficit to 3-2 in their Eastern Conference semi-final series.
Marcin Gortat produced 31 points and 16 rebounds and John Wall stepped up with 27 points to lead the Wizards to a blowout win and at least another game this season. "We played desperate," said Gortat, who tied a career high in scoring. "That's all we can do. We have no other choice."