Matt Barnes had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks. (Facebook/Los Angeles Clippers)
With a steady lead throughout the first three quarters of Game 5 in Oklahoma City, fans in attendance and viewers assumed that the Clippers were going to end the night with a win and, thus, 3-2 series lead.
After an 8-0 run with 3:03 left, the Clippers threw the game away to OKC who soon after went on a 9-0 run and finished victorious.
Here are the 3 reasons why the Clippers didn’t take home a win on Tuesday night.
Westbrook’s Consistent Offense: Russell Westbrook proved his dominance in the league again by leading all scorers of this game. He finished with 38 points, 6 assists and 3 steals in his 43:09 minutes of play time. His offense was impeccable but the retaliation from Clippers including Matt Barnes and J.J. Redick, who both tallied 16 points in Tuesday’s game, wasn’t enough. Although Kevin Durant’s lack of presence was a positive opportunity for the Clippers, Westbrook made up for it with his stellar and unfailing offense.
“You can’t let anyone get in your way,” said Westbrook in a Welcome to Loud City interview.
Bad Officiating: During the final seconds of the fourth quarter, a “who touched it last” play was obviously thrown out of bounds by OKC — even fans in attendance agreed. Although the referees gave the call, along with many others to the Thunder, even after replaying the video multiple times, the Clippers were at risk.
“We were robbed,” said LAC coach Doc Rivers during the post-game press conference.
The controversial late call beyond the arc was also speculated by many. Did Chris Paul touch Westbrook? Did he deserve to shoot those threes?
“That’s our ball,” shouted Rivers from the sidelines. He repeated himself a plethora of times but the officials insisted on ignoring both the crowd and team responses to their calls.
Even though awful officiating took place over the course of the entire 48-minute match up, the fourth quarter calls were essential in regards to the outcome of this game. Rivers said it could have cost them the series.
Last 60 Seconds of the Game: After blowing a seven-point lead with less than 50 seconds to play, the elimination-bound LA team gave up the entire game. Durant, who was 4-of-18 at the time, got hot in the fourth and hit two back-to-back three pointers. Paul had turned over the ball once already, which had given OKC a leg up. After a three-point foul call on Paul, Westbrook nailed all three free throws at the line and pushed them up to lead by one point. The Clippers had the ball and six seconds on the clock to attempt to win the game that they led all night long. Shockingly enough, Paul turned over the ball with two seconds left and the game ended. NBA fans across Twitter-universe went insane, instantly.
Statistically proven in the NBA, if a series is tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has won the series 83% of the time. With everything on the line, watch the Clippers host the Thunder in Game 6 on Thursday night at Staples Center.