Summer League Recap: Game 5 | 7/10/15
The Clippers thought they’d won their final game of Summer League in Orlando on a steal and a heave, as guard Geron Johnson crossed the mid-court line and drilled what appeared to be a buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer Friday morning.
Then came the review.
Johnson’s hand was still on the ball, as the shot was called off, sending the game against the Thunder (3-2) to overtime. After it was still tied following the first overtime, the Clippers (1-4) fell in sudden death double overtime, 101-100, as the Oklahoma City’s Semaj Christon got fouled and hit his first free-throw attempt to end the game.
“It’s over now, so it didn’t count, so it doesn’t really mean anything now,” said Johnson, who would’ve had his first three points of the game on the fourth-quarter shot attempt. “It looked good, though. People pray to hit game-winners in their career. It would’ve been a good shot had it gone in, but it didn’t count.”
Friday, July 10 - 5AM PT
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The Clippers led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, beginning the second half on a 10-0 run, after which the Thunder responded on a 14-3 run to cut the Clippers’ lead to two points. The Clippers then took control once again with a 12-2 run, but the Thunder stormed back again to cut the Clippers’ lead to four entering the fourth quarter.
A slim advantage for the Clippers finally gave way, as Christon, who had 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, hit on a layup to give the Thunder a 79-78 lead with six minutes remaining in regulation. The Clippers and Thunder continued to trade baskets as the lead went back and forth the rest of the quarter.
The Clippers took a two-point lead with a minute left on two free throws from center Yanick Moreira, who finished with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, before Oklahoma City’s Tekele Cotton hit two straight buckets to put the Thunder ahead by two with 34 seconds left. A Diante Garrett floater in the late tied things up, setting up for a dramatic finish to regulation.
Johnson came up with a steal with fewer than five seconds left, stormed down court and after two steps past mid-court launched a 3-point attempt that went through, appearing at first glance to beat the buzzer as his teammates congratulated him. Following the celebration, the shot was waved off as replay showed the ball was still in his hands.
“I know I have some things to work on offensively,” said Johnson, who was 0-for-3 from the floor but had three steals. “I know my strengths. I’m a defensive stopper. I’ve got to go back to the drawing board and got to be better. Overall, I had a great time playing for the Clippers.”
With overtime lasting only two minutes, the Thunder’s quick five-point lead might’ve seemed insurmountable. But the Clippers chipped away and tied it after a dish from C.J. Wilcox went to Moreira for the lay-in with four seconds left. The Clippers’ defense kept the game tied at the end of the first overtime, setting up sudden death.
“All the guys were feeding me the ball, so it was nice to see a few go in,” Moreira said.
Jordan Hamilton, who was 11-for-21 from the floor entering the second overtime and finished with 29 points, missed his first shot. On the other end, a block attempt from Moreira was called a foul. All the Thunder had to do was hit a free-throw, which Christon did on his first attempt to end the Clippers’ Orlando Summer League play.
D.J. Newbill finished with 15 points, five steals, four rebounds and three assists, while Diante Garrett scored 16 points and had six assists, four rebounds and two steals.
“I liked the way our guys worked out there today,” said head coach Brendan O’Connor. “They were active on the boards and went after it. It would’ve been nice to get the win, but overall the guys played hard. It was tough to see us lose the way we did, especially with the effort everyone put in.”