Russell Westbrook inspires epic 25-point comeback for OKC to keep season alive

Utah Jazz  v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Five

The Oklahoma City Thunder went into their game five clash with the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night needing a win to avoid a first-round playoff exit.

When Jae Crowder knocked down his sixth three-pointer in the third quarter with just over eight minutes to go, he gave the Jazz a huge 25-point lead and a place in the second round beckoned.

Like they had done for most of the series, they were comprehensively outplaying the Thunder and had silenced a boisterous crowd inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

OKC's season was coming to an end in disappointing circumstances after a year that promised so much more.

But with more than 20 minutes still to go, MVP Russell Westbrook went into superhero mode and took responsibility to drag his team back from the dead.

The superstar did it all for OKC. He knocked down multiple triples, bulldozed his way to the basket to finish difficult layups, threw down his usual thunderous dunks and made big plays for his teammates.

With the help of Paul George, who expertly played Robin to Westbrook's Batman, the Thunder fought back from a 25-point hole with an incredible 32-7 run.

Westbrook finished with 45 points on 17-of-39 shooting, with Paul George adding 34 on 12-of-26. No other Thunder player scored in double figures.

It was a two-man show and the two best players on the court proved why they were exactly that as they refused to let their campaign finish, sealing an improbable 107-99 win.

At one point during the epic comeback, Westbrook looked at the Jazz bench and told them: "Not tonight."

"It was one of those nights where obviously our bench, our crowd, everyone here in Oklahoma was behind us," Westbrook said, per ESPN's Royce Young. "We needed every bit of it tonight and our guys stepped up."

Until the Thunder got back-to-back threes from their point guard to begin their huge run, they were being humiliated by their visitors as they barely laid a glove on them.

But George stated that despite how it came across, they never gave up and always believed they could get back in the ball game.

"We never quit," George said. "I can't pinpoint one thing we did wrong. I think we never got down on ourselves. Regardless of the lead they built and the shots they were making, we felt we could surge back, and we did."

It was the biggest comeback in Oklahoma City franchise history, regular season or playoffs.

They also became just the third team in the last 15 years to overcome a 25-point deficit to win a playoff game, joining the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers, according to STATS.

The performance by Westbrook made it all possible and his numbers on the night put him in elite company.

He's just the third player in NBA history to record 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a playoff, along with LeBron James and Wilt Chamberlain, per Elias Sports.

"I thought Russ did an unbelievable job of taking what they were giving to him," George said. "He just played the game and whatever they did, he did the opposite. He was special."

Thanks to their superstar duo playing their best game together, the Thunder live to fight another day.

That day will be Friday as the series shifts back to Utah for a pivotal game six where they'll look to force a game seven and keep their hopes alive of setting up a second-round date with the Houston Rockets.

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