The seesaw series of the playoffs is now heading towards the wire. Defending champions San Antonio Spurs pulled off a sensational victory in game 5 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
The Spurs, who trailed the series 0-1 after Game 1, won twice-in-a-row at the Staples Center including the pivotal Game 5 last night to grab a 3-2 lead. The team is now one game away from moving into the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs, scoring 21 points as his side managed to hold on to a 111-107 lead in the final moments to earn an opportunity to win the series at home on Thursday. Kawhi Leonard scored 18 on Tuesday.
The Spurs’ lead reduced to 108-107 in the final minute, as the desperate Clippers registered a 7-1 run. But with five seconds remaining, Blake Griffin missed an opportunity to score. DeAndre Jordan, who scored 21 points and 14 rebounds, tapped the ball home in rebound, but was pulled up for touching the ball within the cylinder.
”It was a dumb play,” said Jordan in his locker room. ”I hit the ball. We did a good job fighting to put us in a situation to go up one. You can’t blame anybody on that but me. I tipped the ball.”
Only 4.3 seconds were remaining at that point, and the video-review decision boosted the Spurs to outplay their demoralized opponents in the dying seconds.
Blake Griffin scored 30 points, but missed 2 free throws with only 39 seconds remaining, as his side missed 16 free throws to concede the nail-biter by such a narrow margin.
Chris Paul scored 19 points and 4 assists for the Clippers as Manu Ginobili scored 14 for the winners coming off the bench.
”It was anybody’s game,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after his side’s narrow escape. ”It’s just two really competitive groups. A missed shot here, a missed shot there, really.”