Court Vision: Thunder prevail in unreal finish and Wizards cruise
Playoff lessons from Game 5 between the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards while the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers also meet again.
Here's what we learned in the NBA Playoffs on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 as Marcin Gortat and the Washington Wizards ran roughshod all over the Indiana Pacers. and the Oklahoma City Thunder staging an improbable comeback to keep home court advantage in their series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Oklahoma City Thunder 105, Los Angeles Clippers 104 | Thunder lead the series 3-2
• We learned that nothing is safe in this series, no matter what the fourth quarter situation is. The Clippers came back in spectacular fashion over the course of an entire quarter in Game 4 to tie the series up at 2-2. Then in this game, the Clippers were up seven points with 49 seconds left and somehow blew the lead. Some shaky calls surrounded an overall chaotic final minute as the Thunder stole one on their home floor.
• Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant came up huge in the fourth quarter when the Thunder needed them the most. Durant was horrendous for most of this game in terms of shooting the ball, thanks to some pretty stellar defense by Matt Barnes. But he picked it up with 10 points in the final period to finish with 27 on 6-of-22 shooting. Westbrook had nine points in the final quarter and finished with 38 on 11-of-23 shooting. Westbrook's biggest points came on free throws after Chris Paul fouled him on a 3-point attempt with the Thunder down two.
• Some big mistakes from Chris Paul at the end of this game. He finished with 17 points, 14 assists, and four steals but his five turnovers were killer. Two of those turnovers came in the final minute with the steal by Westbrook when the Thunder were down two and then the turnover on the final play of the game when the Clippers needed a bucket. He's been incredible controlling the ball in this series but he blew it in the final minute.
• Blake Griffin had a spectacular offensive game with 24 points and a wide array of buckets. He had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, but only scored one point in the fourth quarter and missed all four shots. He finished with 24 points and 17 rebounds but he just couldn't do anything at the end of the game. Perhaps, his team shouldn't have needed him to.
• Steven Adams (nine points, four rebounds, and two blocks) and Reggie Jackson (10 points and seven rebounds) were huge off the OKC bench. Both had big impacts on the game with Jackson steadying the offense at times and Adams providing a huge presence inside. He should be taking all of Kendrick Perkins' minutes.
• Westbrook and Durant had more free throw attempts combined (28) than the Clippers did as a team (20).
Washington Wizards 102, Indiana Pacers 79 | Pacers lead the series 3-2
• We learned that when the Indiana Pacers lose, they lose in a tremendous fashion. The Washington Wizards destroyed them in this game and really opened it up in a big third quarter that guaranteed we see a Game 6 in this series. There were so many moments and stats to show the domination, but let's try to go over a few of them here to show just how bad this game was for the Pacers and how good it was for a Wizards team in desperate need of a victory.
• After the third quarter, Marcin Gortat and John Wall had combined for 54 points. The entire Pacers team had just 52 points. Wall had 17 points in the third quarter while the Pacers had 14. At that point, Nene and the Wizards' bench had combined for two points and the team still had a 24-point lead.
• Gortat was ferocious in this game. He was dunking a lot, he ruled the boards, and he was dominating the paint on both ends. He had 16 rebounds in the game to the Pacers' 23. In fact, he was outrebounding the Pacers on his own after the third quarter 16-15. He was 13-of-15 overall from the floor for 31 points and the Wizards were a plus-35 with him on the floor.
• I should probably try to say something positive about the Pacers at some point in this. Um... they're up 3-2 in the series.
• Wall has had a weird struggle with his balance in being aggressive juxtaposed to being composed in this series. He's attacked nicely for most of the series but his shot hasn't fallen and that's also made him hesitant at times. While he was a bit sloppy with the ball (five turnovers), everything else for him was well-measured. He had 27 points on the night on 11-of-20 shooting. He scored from almost every zone on the floor and really explored the space like he was playing the cowbell on a Blue Oyster Cult track.
• Washington was so dominant they didn't need 3-point shooting to cruise to the comfortable win. They made just 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) and still came out on top. Including the playoffs, it was just their seventh win in 18 games when they shoot 28 percent from 3-point range or worse.
• Wizards had 19 turnovers, gave up 23 points off of those turnovers, and still didn't have to sweat the fourth quarter. What I'm trying to say is the Pacers got smacked around.
• Some more rebounding domination fun for the Wizards fans out there. Wizards grabbed 18 offensive rebounds while the Pacers grabbed 19 defensive rebounds. They were so close to matching their offensive rebounds with the opponents' defensive rebounds, which would have been the fourth time (including playoffs) this was done this season. The Bucks beat the Sixers in this respect with 20 offensive rebounds to 17 defensive rebounds grabbed by the opponent. The Grizzlies defeated the Nuggets by matching their offensive boards to Denver's defensive boards at 19 in this season. And the Raptors matched the Nets at 19 in the same respect and beat them during Game 2 of their series.
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