NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, May 15th
(All times Eastern)
(2) Oklahoma City Thunder (3-2) at (3) Los Angeles Clippers (2-3), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to advance past the
Los Angeles Clippers Thursday night when Game 6 of the Western Conference
semifinals takes place from the Staples Center.
The Clippers will try to advance past the call that went a long way in
deciding Game 5.
Before the call, the Thunder overcame a 13-point deficit with four minutes to
play and outscored the Clippers 8-0 in the final 49 seconds to earn a 105-104
The win put them one game away from reaching the Western Conference Finals and
setting up a date with the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs, who dispatched the
Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
But, back to "the call."
After league MVP Kevin Durant made a 3-pointer, then a layup in transition,
OKC guard Russell Westbrook poked the ball loose from Clippers point guard
Chris Paul near the sideline and Thunder guard Reggie Jackson ended up with
He dribbled into the paint and ran into Matt Barnes, losing the ball out of
bounds. It looked pretty clear that Barnes did foul Jackson, but there was no
such call and the ball appeared to go off Jackson's hands.
However, after awarding the ball to the Thunder, the officials deemed the
replay wasn't conclusive enough to change possession back to the Clippers.
"Everybody knows it was our ball. I think the bottom line is they thought it
was a foul and made up for it," said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, who was
so sure his team would get the ball following the replay, he was diagramming
an offensive set, not a defensive one. "We got robbed."
Putting aside the controversial call, the Clippers, especially Paul, did some
dumb things down the stretch to give this one away.
Paul fouled Westbrook on a 3-point attempt on the high left side, and
Westbrook made all three shots for the Thunder's first lead since midway
through the second quarter.
Paul tried to split Jackson and Serge Ibaka with a dribble at the other end
and lost the ball in the paint on the final possession of the game.
"You know we lost and it's on me," said Paul, who admitted he didn't think he
fouled Westbrook on the 3-pointer. "We had a chance to win on the last play,
we didn't get a shot off and that's just dumb. I'm supposed to be leader of
Paul's admission notwithstanding, Rivers was still irate following the game.
"We did a lot of stuff ourselves to lose the game," Rivers said, "but at the
end of the day, we have a replay system to look at plays. And I don't want to
hear they didn't have (a good enough) replay. That's a bunch of crap and you
"That could be a series-defining call, and that's not right."
Rivers could very well be right, but his counterpart on the Thunder sideline
obviously had a different take.
"One thing I know is Reggie did get fouled," said OKC head coach Scott Brooks.
"I couldn't tell on my replays (who the ball went off of). Maybe they have
different replays than I have. On the four or five I saw I couldn't tell."
The league issued a statement backing the referees and calling the replays
Westbrook finished with 38 points, while Durant added 27. Westbrook finished
11-of-23 from the field and missed just two of his 16 foul shots, picking up
the slack for Durant, who was 6-for-22 shooting, including 3-for-17 in the
first three quarters as the Thunder mostly played from behind.
Blake Griffin had 24 points and 17 rebounds to lead Los Angeles and Paul added
17 points and 14 assists. Jamal Crawford scored 19 points off the bench and
J.J. Redick had 16.
The Thunder won Game 3 in Los Angeles.
If needed, a Game 7 would take place Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
05/15 10:34:28 ET