Russell Westbrook was playing atrociously. The rest of Kevin Durant’s supporting cast was playing lackadaisically and the Oklahoma City Thunder were playing as if they had just accepted the thought that tonight just wasn’t their night, outside of the MVP Durant of course.
All the dice were rolling in favor of the Los Angeles Clippers as they held a 14-point lead after the first quarter and the score didn’t indicate how lopsided the game had been thus far. Yet somehow, someway, the Thunder hung around despite Durant playing as if he were the only one who made the trip from Oklahoma City.
Late in the third quarter, Westbrook still had only two points to compliment his multitude of turnovers and misguided shots, while every run Oklahoma City made was counted by the same for Los Angeles. Then the Thunder team we have grown so accustomed to finally came alive when it mattered most.
Within what seemed to be only a few moments, the deficit had been erased and the rest of the team decided to join Durant’s heroic efforts to lead the Thunder back to the Western Conference Finals. Just like that, Westbrook was hitting his shots and cashing in on clutch free throws and Reggie Jackson was knocking down jumpers to help extend a Thunder lead that almost never arrived.
It was a resilient comeback that showed the Thunder are capable of playing at the championship level they set their standards to. Oklahoma City could have laid down and accepted that tonight just wasn’t going to end well for them. But when the league’s MVP has 39 points and 16 rebounds behind an absolute refusal to lose, the team has to rally around his will to win and that’s just what the Thunder did to close out the Clippers in game six.
It was a late-game comeback necessary for a championship run and Durant and the Thunder are now one step closer. Next up, the San Antonio Spurs.