Thunder guard Russell Westbrook forced overtime by converting a four-point play during the final minute of Oklahoma City's 98-95 loss to Memphis in Game 3 on Thursday.
With just under 30 seconds remaining in regulation and the Grizzlies leading 85-81, Westbrook frantically searched for points against a stifling Memphis defense. A high screen from Kendrick Perkins gave Westbrook a little daylight, and he quickly pulled up into a leaning three-pointer as he moved towards the top of the arc from right to left. Tony Allen challenged the three-point attempt with his left arm, and Westbrook appeared to seize the bang-bang opportunity by slamming to the court following the shot's release, drawing a whistle in the process.
Against all odds, the shot found the net. Remarkably, Westbrook was able to watch the ball go through while laying on the hardwood. Replays seemed to reveal that Westbrook embellished the contact by kicking out his legs and extending his shooting arm, making it look as if Allen had hit him on the follow-through. The actual contact between the two players seemed to be minimal at best. Nevertheless, Westbrook drained his free throw to tie the game at 85.
Russell Westbrook hit this leaning jumper for a crucial four-point play. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)
Neither team would score during the rest of regulation, with Mike Conley missing a potential game-winner just before the buzzer.
The Grizzlies eventually prevailed in overtime, marking the second straight game in which they overcame a dramatic four-point play by the Thunder. In Game 2, Kevin Durant hit an improbable fallaway three-pointer while drawing a foul to help force overtime.
Westbrook finished with 30 points (on 9-for-26 shooting), 13 rebounds and two assists in Game 3. Durant added 30 points (on 10-for-27 shooting), nine rebounds and three assists in the loss.
Conley led the Grizzlies with a team-high 20 points (on 8-for-14 shooting), five rebounds and three assists. Zach Randolph added 16 points (on 5-for-20 shooting), 10 rebounds and six assists in the win.
Memphis (No. 7) now holds a 2-1 series advantage over Oklahoma City (No. 2). Game 4 is set for the Fed Ex Forum on Saturday.