OKLAHOMA CITY: Russell Westbrook sank three clutch free throws with six seconds left as Oklahoma City rallied to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-104 in game five of their second round playoff series.
“I just try to take my time, take a deep breath and knock them down,” Westbrook said.
“I slow down my breathing, slow my pace and clear my mind.”
Kevin Durant was breathing easier after finding his shot late in the game and finished with 27 points for the Thunder who lead the NBA’s Western Conference series three games to two.
The Thunder went on a 8-0 surge in the last 49 seconds to get the victory after being down by 13 points with four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
League MVP Durant hit five consecutive shots in the frantic final moments after struggling on offense for most of Tuesday’s game.
The final moments included an out-of-bounds replay that favored the Thunder and led to Westbrook’s winning shots from the free-throw line.
“That could be a series-defining call. And that is not right,” said an irate Clippers coach Doc Rivers who was upset with the officials after the call went against his team.
But the Clippers didn’t help their cause by making costly mistakes down the stretch, including Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul who lost the ball on the Clippers’ final possession.
The loss puts the Clippers, who are also having to deal with the Donald Sterling controversy, on the brink of elimination from the 2014 playoffs.
In Indianapolis, Marcin Gortat tallied 31 points and 16 rebounds as the Washington
Wizards staved off elimination with a 102-79 win over the Indiana Pacers in game five of their NBA playoff series.
Gortat had a double double by the end of the second quarter for the Wizards — who still trail in the second round series, three games to two, despite a dominating victory on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).