Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka crumbled to the court in disbelief after missing a point-blank, last-second lay-up that would have forced overtime, but instead gave Houston a 105-103 home victory.
The game wound up in Ibaka's hands because seemingly everything went wrong on the Thunder's final possession. Kevin Durant was unable to shake free from Francisco Garcia for a potential game-winning three-pointer attempt, and his pass to Reggie Jackson didn't connect cleanly, leading to a scramble for the ball well outside the arc. Jackson recovered nicely and drove hard into the paint as the clock wound down, finding Omer Asik waiting just outside the protected circle to provide help defense. Asik contested the initial attempt well, forcing Jackson to toss the ball up wildly on his way down. That effort rimmed off short, but Ibaka was ready and waiting on the left block, coming down with the ball and attempting to put it back up with less than a second remaining in the game. His second-chance try just lacked sufficient mustard, and it couldn't climb over the front of the rim, falling harmlessly into Asik's hands. Seeing his chip shot miss as the buzzer sounded, Ibaka collapsed backwards to the court and lay there for several seconds holding his head in disbelief. The Rockets and their fans, meanwhile, commenced celebrations, as Houston had managed to stave off elimination. The Rockets' victory forced Game 5 in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night with the Thunder now leading the Western Conference first-round playoff series 3-1.