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NBA Playoffs -- Clippers' meltdown hand Thunder Game 5


PhilBoxing.com




SAN FRANCISCO --The Los Angeles Clippers suffered an epic collapse Tuesday night and lost a Game 5 heartbreaker to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 105-104, at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Leading 101-88 with only 4:13 remaining, the Clippers watched the Thunder go on a 17-3 run that handed Oklahoma the critical Game 5, and perhaps, the series altogether.

Game 6 is Thursday night (Friday AM in Manila) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles where the Thunder hope to strike the knockout blow.

All-Star Chris Paul made 3 crucial turnovers that helped seal Los Angeles' fate. With 13.9 seconds to go and his team clinging to a 104-102 lead, Paul turned over the ball. In the ensuing possession, Paul fouled Russell Westbrook while shooting a 3. Westbrook calmly sank all three free throws for the winning margin.

Despite the Thunder's surge, the Clippers still had a chance to steal Game 5 in the final 6.4 seconds but Paul -- again -- turned the ball over.

"It's the toughest thing I've been through in basketball. Everything that happened at the end is on me. It's just bad basketball. It's bad to work that hard and just give it away at the end," Paul told reporters on his post-game press conference aired on NBA-TV.

Although his five turnovers doomed his team, Paul finished with a solid 17 points and 14 assists while Blake Griffin had a monster 24 and 17 boards. Jamal Crawford had 19 and Matt Barnes drilled four 3s for 16 points, but the Clips made only 38 of 88 shots, including 12 of 27 triples.

Westbrook led the Thunder with 38 points while Kevin Durant had 27 despite missing 16 of 22 shots. Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jakcson chipped in 8 points each as OKC converted 33 of 77 field goals and 7 of 17 threes. (JSM)

Photo: Chris Paul's series of late-game blunders led to the Clippers' 105-104 Game 5 demise.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joan Secuya-Medida.


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