Thunder win has Steven Adams 'mindblown'

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2014

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Basketball

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Steven Adams was struggling to comprehend Oklahoma City's improbable NBA playoff win yesterday.

"MindBlown," the impressive Kiwi rookie tweeted, shortly after the Thunder overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 50 seconds to stun the Los Angeles Clippers 105-104 in a controversial finish.

The wild win at Chesapeake Energy Arena moved the Thunder within one victory of the Western Conference finals.

Game six is tomorrow in LA with the Clippers needing to win to force a game seven.

Yet again Adams belied his inexperience to perform strongly with a high-energy 23 minutes in the playoff cauldron.

The 20-year-old scored nine points including four slam dunks (4/5 FG), to go with four rebounds, two blocks and an assist.

Russell Westbrook scored 38 points and made three clutch free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining to give the Thunder the lead.

Reggie Jackson then stole the ball from Clippers star Chris Paul to secure the win and trigger wild celebrations as time expired.

"We tried to clog up the lane and force them to shoot tough shots," said Adams, while Clippers coach Doc Rivers went off on a rant.

Rivers, who guided the Clippers with such class throughout the Donald Sterling controversy, blamed the officials for the loss.

"We got robbed," Rivers said of a crucial out-of-bounds decision that went against his team with 11 seconds left. That could be a series-defining call."

Meanwhile, Basketball New Zealand chief executive Iain Potter said it remained unclear whether the Thunder would release Adams to play for the Tall Blacks at the World Cup in Spain.

Potter was hopeful, given Oklahoma City has previously allowed stars Westbrook and Kevin Durant (USA) and Serge Ibaka (Spain) to play international basketball.

No official discussions will take place until the Thunder's playoff run ends.

"We can't really get to Steven because obviously the playoffs are a stressful time for everyone," Potter said.

"No decision will be made until that runs its course.

"I hope the Thunder take the view that it's five years till the next World Cup, and it would be great for him to play."

Potter said it was unclear what Adams' insurance costs would be to play at the August-September tournament.

"High Performance Sport is providing budget to help us out with that."

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