After all the back-and-forth about whether the ball went off Reggie Jackson or Matt Barnes and the referee’s call in the final seconds of Game 5, people slept on Westbrook’s monster night (38 points, three steals, six assists and five rebounds), despite a hero shot attempt that could have lost it for OKC, but instead, ended up winning it for them.
Now everyone on the Worldwide Leader is saying Chris Paul lost it for LA (wrong, they wouldn’t have been in that position without him) when he fouled Russ on his shortsighted three-point attempt with seven-seconds remaining in the game. The Thunder didn’t need a three, but Russ launched it anyway (#WhyNot), and CP3 bailed him out by ever-so-slightly touching his wrist on the attempt. So Russ had three free throws to go ahead.
Except, Kevin Durant — who had the worst shooting night of his entire playoff career before that flurry in the final minutes — just couldn’t bare to watch. Durantula sat down with his gangly limbs facing the other way during Westbrook’s deciding shots from the stripe:
This amazing Durant photo featured everywhere was taken by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images pic.twitter.com/x5FcPPrmAB
— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) May 14, 2014
Russ knocked them all down, CP3 lost the handle on the ensuing possession, the buzzer sounded, Doc Rivers started screaming at the refs as well as OKC’s thief of an owner* and everyone in Oklahoma City went bananas.
Sam Amick of USA Today relays just what KD was thinking at the time of Westbrook’s free throws and their improbably comeback:
The Thunder’s unreal 17-4 run to finish the game was being unfathomably finalized, their 105-104 win about to be complete after a Clippers collapse and officiating controversy for the ages. And Durant, whose 6-for-22 outing would have surely sparked another round of “Mr. Unreliable” headlines somewhere in the news media landscape, was by himself in the farthest reaches of the Chesapeake Energy Arena floor.
He quieted the crowd in the corner that was some 80 feet away from the other nine players, then crouched in a catcher’s position in the corner while facing the fans who couldn’t believe what had unfolded. He sat down as if this was a Thunder family picnic, his long arms draped over his knees before he rose again and even rested his white knuckles over the opposite baseline and into out-of-bounds territory.
He couldn’t watch. Yet still, he couldn’t believe what he saw.
“I have never seen a game like this with us,” said Durant, the seven-year veteran who was playing in his 66th career playoff game. “It just shows that we just keep going. You can never keep us down, and we are going to fight until the end.”
After the amazing photo of KD’s on-court repose by Getty’s Ronald Martinez, CBS Sports’ estimable Matt Moore crowd-sourced photoshops of KD chilling in other iconic moments.
*Clay Bennett stole the Sonics from Seattle when he unceremoniously moved them to Oklahoma City.