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Court Vision: Playoff lessons as Thunder-Clippers gets wild

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Clippers' big comeback keeps that series very interesting. (USATSI)
Clippers' big comeback keeps that series very interesting. (USATSI)

More postseason coverage: Playoff schedule, results | Latest news, notes

Here's what we learned on Sunday, May 11 as the Clippers mounted an improbable comeback and evened the series with the Thunder at Staples. We also had the Pacers outlasting a Wizards team that gave a win at home away to go down big in the series.

Indiana Pacers 95, Washington Wizards 92 | Pacers up 3-1 in the series

• We learned that these two teams aren't exactly the Spurs when it comes to late game execution. The Pacers and Wizards were all over the place in this game. The Pacers dug a huge hole for themselves with a horrendous bench effort in the second quarter in which they had double the turnovers (six) as they did made baskets (three). Then when the third quarter came around, they got their act together and brought the Wizards down into that hole with them. Finally in the fourth quarter, Washington pushed the Pacers out of the hole they dug and decided to bury themselves alive.

• As much bad and hilarity as there was in this game, Paul George wasn't really part of that. People have wanted him to be the superstar we saw in the first couple months of the season, and that's exactly what he gave his team and the fans in Game 4. He had 15 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 39 points on 12-of-20 from the field, 7-of-10 from the 3-point line, and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. This is how he did his damage in the big 28-point second half:

• Bradley Beal was solid once again with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, five rebounds, and five assists. But he couldn't boost the poor play of John Wall, who attacked well at times but just couldn't make enough shots. He was brutal in the second half and never really looked comfortable against the Pacers defense in the final 24 minutes of the game.

• Lance Stephenson made this play in the final seconds of the game and it somehow didn't cost them the victory. Why would you ever jump pass in this situation? (Via Ben Golliver)

• Drew Gooden played 27 minutes in this game and was actually quite effective, although Randy Wittman probably should have gone back to Marcin Gortat at some point to counteract what Roy Hibbert was doing out there. Al Harrington played 22 minutes in the game and was also quite effective, although most of that came in the second quarter. Just wanted to remind you it's 2014.

• The Pacers' bench dodged a huge bullet by getting completely outplayed by the Wizards' bench. The Wizards' bench played scored 32 points on 13-of-26 shooting. C.J. Watson went 1 for 4 from the field and scored two points. Those were the only two points for Indiana's bench in the game. Overall, they were 1 for 9.

• Roy Hibbert's first half went as such: In almost 18 minutes of action, he had two points on 1-of-5 shooting, had two rebounds, and was a minus-8 points when he was on the court. The second half was quite different. He played almost 21 minutes, scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds, blocked two shots, and was a plus-24 on the floor.

Los Angeles Clippers 101 Oklahoma City Thunder 99 | Series tied 2-2

• Here's the game flow. It's a good place to start for the madness we just witnessed.

• The Thunder lead by 22 points at one point and 16 in the fourth quarter. In the first and third quarters combined, they allowed 32 points to the Clippers. They allowed 38 in the fourth quarter. The game looked over even with six minutes remaining. Even as the lead shrunk, the Thunder just looked so much better, in control, composed and talented than the Clippers.

• And it just all melted down. The Thunder offense had two primary issues in the fourth. The Clippers put Chris Paul on him Kevin Durant, and then sent a hard double at him, which caused multiple turnovers. Jamal Crawfor basically shot the gap at the free throw line and that turned into transition points.

• And the Thunder basically focused all their defensive efforts on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and dared Darren Collison to beat them.

• Darren Collison beat them.

• It spoils a terrific performance from the Thunder, who worked to get quality looks throughout the game. They were great on defense, played with urgency, dictated the pace, and had firm control of the game... until they didn't.

• For more on coaching decisions, read Zach Harper here.

• This happened:

• After the game, Kevin Durant on the challenge that Chris Paul presents defensively: "It doesn't."

• Jamal Crawford was terrible for most of the game but came on strong during the comeback.

• DeAndre Jordan finished -21 with seven points and 14 rebounds. The Thunder primarily neutralized him with pick and roll action and by focusing on perimeter play.

• Chris Paul would not let this team quit. He dragged them kicking and screaming to this victory.

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