Tensions were high going into game five of the Western play-offs as both teams were tied at 2-2 in the series after the LA Clippers clinched a win at the Staples Centre; but on Tuesday night Oklahoma City Thunder took a 3-2 lead after a thrilling 105-104 victory at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Three late points in the dying embers of the game from Russell Westbrook cancelled out the Clippers' lead, resulting in Doc Rivers to ponder the defeat and bring to the officials' attention the judgement calls made in the process.
"It lets you know you can't mess around. You have to take every moment, every play, and go out and win the game."
Westbrook, like Kevin Durant, made the difference on Tuesday night as the guard and forward scored 65 points between them both.
However, Doc Rivers controversially stated to ESPN that the official's call in the last few seconds of the fourth quarter cost them the match.
"The bottom line is they thought it was a foul and they made up for it. Let's take away the replay. We were robbed. It was our ball, whether it was a foul or not."
With seconds left on the clock Westbrook went to attempt a three pointer only to be allegedly clipped by Chris Paul, leaving the guard to protest and the Clippers to go on and lose the match.
The first quarter saw the Clippers get off to a flyer from the tip-off, as the visitors took an early lead at 34-25.
Blake Griffin scored 11 with JJ Redick adding ten to the board, as Chris Paul collected five assists in the process.
For Thunder meanwhile Westbrook converted eight points and Durant got off to a slow start only hitting six.
In the second Thunder responded taking the quarter 27-24; as Scott Brooks' side were in seven heaven.
Steven Adams, Durant and Westbrook all scored seven points, while for the Clippers Danny Granger and Paul both added seven as well, and at half-time the Clippers were leading 58-52.
It was a tight game with not much to choose from, and the third quarter never supplied any answers as the period ended 28-28.
Westbrook hitting a huge 14 points for the hosts, while Griffin added eight to the board along with Jamal Crawford scoring seven, after some wise words from head coach Rivers, to keep the LA fight alive and to still hold a six point lead heading into the final 12.
At this point, Brooks needed Durant to show his scoring ability as the forward had only scored three of his 17 attempted field goals.
But that response came at the perfect time as Durant went on to score ten points to help Thunder clinch the fourth period 25-18.
Westbrook added nine along with three free-throws in the dying seconds to clinch a must win encounter.
The match was on spectators would feel as a classic, as game six between these two powerhouses is on Friday evening at the Staples Centre as the Clippers have lost once at their home from two games.
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