What would a night of NBA Playoffs action be without drama? The opening act of the night saw the Wizards come into Indianapolis and thoroughly dismantle the Indiana Pacers 102-79, making them look like the team who looked so hopeless for the latter third of the season and raising all the question marks on whether the Pacers can advance to the next round.
Marcin Gortat had one of the best games of his life, pouring in 31 points and adding 16 rebounds, while also holding Roy Hibbert to a pedestrian 4 points and 2 rebounds, which has become a staple Hibbert statline. Meanwhile, John Wall ran all over the Pacers back court, finishing with 27 points of his own and sending the series back to Washington for Game 6. As quickly as fans and media – myself included – predicted the Pacers were back, they go right ahead and put out this performance. This will certainly be a Jekyll and Hyde team to finish the playoffs.
But the real drama happened in Oklahoma City as the Thunder hosted the Clippers. With four minutes remaining in the game, the Thunder trailed by 13 points and it seemed that, despite the drama surrounding them off the court, the Clippers were going to steal home court advantage back and head back to LA with a chance to close the series. However, Doc Rivers‘ crew shifted into neutral too soon and before they knew it, OKC ripped off a 14-3 run to pull within two.
Then all hell broke loose.
Following a Durant lay-up to bring the score to 104-102, Russell Westbrook knocked the ball loose from Chris Paul in the backcourt, eventually finding it’s way to Reggie Jackson. Jackson charged to the basket before losing the ball out of bounds. The officials would go to the monitors, where replays clearly showed Jackson being the last to touch the ball. Inexplicably, the refs ruled it OKC ball with 11.3 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing in-bound, Westbrook would pull-up for a contested three-pointer with 6.4 seconds remaining, only to be fouled by Chris Paul. Again, replays showed that the refs had made an incorrect call, with Paul not having even touched Westbrook on the shot. Westbrook buried all three free throws, pushing the Thunder to a 105-104 lead.
The Clippers had one last chance, but Paul turned the ball over in the lane and the Thunder escaped with a dramatic rally to win the game, much like the Clippers in Game 4. Now, the Clippers have to do what they haven’t done this series yet – win two games consecutively.
Hopefully they’ll have the refs on their side.
Tags: Nba Playoffs