Basketball / Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul holds his head after fouling the Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook on a 3-pointer with seconds left in the fourth quarter in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. The Thunder won, 105-104, for a 3-2 series lead. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

OKC overcomes huge fourth-quarter deficit to sneak past Clippers, 105-104

OKLAHOMA CITY -- This time, it was the Los Angeles Clippers who collapsed.

And because they failed to hold what looked to be an insurmountable 13-point lead late and because they let the questionable officiating affect their emotions, the Clippers are now one game away from their season being over.

When the Clippers dropped a thrilling 105-104 game to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night in Game 6, it left Coach Doc Rivers upset at how the how the officials affected the outcome that went against his team.

Russell Westbrook made three free throws with 6.4 seconds left after getting fouled by Chris Paul for the final score.

Paul, who had five turnovers, then was stripped of the ball by Reggie Jackson as time expired.

Rivers, whose team is now down 3-2 in the best-of-seven playoff series, went on a rant about the officials that may get him fined.

Game 6 is Thursday night at Staples Center.

His team's lead had been cut to 104-102 after Kevin Durant scored five consecutive points.

Then after Paul had one of his two crucial turnovers in the fourth quarter, Jackson raced down court for a layup.

While it looked as if Jackson was fouled on the play with 11.3 seconds left, the ball also appeared to go out of bounds off Jackson.

But after the officials looked at the review, they gave the ball back to the Thunder.

"I my opinion, let's take away replay," Rivers said started. "Let's take away replay, because that's our ball and we win the game. And we got robbed because of that call. And it's clear. Everybody in the area saw it. That's why everybody was shocked when they said (the ball was) for Oklahoma City.

"That was our ball. Whether it was a foul or not -- it was. But they didn't call it."

After the Thunder got the ball back, Paul then was called for a questionable call on Westbrook attempting a three-pointer.

Westbrook, who had 38 points, calmly sank all three free throws.

But Rivers still was more upset at the call -- or non call -- against his team on the Jackson call.

"We did a lot of stuff to lose the game ourselves," Rivers said. "But at the end of the day, we have a replay system that you're supposed to look at. And I don't want to hear that they didn't have that reply. That's a bunch of crap. That's what I heard (from the officials).

"That's a bunch of crap and ya'll all know it. We did our own stuff. We should have never lost that game. We stopped playing with three minutes left. We were milking the clock. We turned the ball over.

"We made a comedy of errors. Having said that, we still have the right to win the game if the ball says it's our ball, and that didn't happen. And that's too bad. That's too bad for us."

The Clippers led by seven points with 49.2 seconds left and let this game slip away.

"We've got two more games to play, but that could be a series-defining call," Rivers said. "And that's not right."

The Thunder blew a 22-point, first-quarter lead and a 16-point fourth-quarter lead in Game 4 at Staples Center to lose.

But losing this game left Rivers upset at the officials more than anything else.

"The one thing I know about our officials is that they don't do anything on purpose," Rivers said. "They don't cheat or anything like that. They made a horrendous call. But at the end of the day, we created the situation.

"We did a lot ourselves to not win the game and that means we can play with them. We've just got to go win the next one and have a game-deciding (Game 7) back here."

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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