It has been an exciting week for comebacks, and we’re only two days in. On Sunday night the Sacramento Kings came back from an 18-point deficit to beat the LA Clippers. On Monday, the Oklahoma City Thunder were trailing the Dallas Mavericks by 13 points with 3:30 left in the game.
It’s all over, right?
Wrong. The Thunder ended the game on a 14-0 run in the last 3:30 to win by one. Russell Westbrook had 12 points in that span, hitting 5 of 9 field goals. It was the first time since Dec. 17 that a team overcame a 13-point deficit in 3:30 or less. In that game, the Houston Rockets trailed the Minnesota Timberwolves by 13 with 2:59 left but won in overtime.
How it all set up on Monday night
It didn’t look promising for the Thunder early. They had just 10 points in the second quarter, their fewest in any quarter this season. Westbrook committed four turnovers in the period, three of which came with Yogi Ferrell as his defender.
At the half, the Thunder had 35 points, their fewest points in a half this season. The Thunder had five assists in the entire first half, all by Westbrook. While OKC was 5-of-10 shooting off Westbrook's passes, they were 0-of-8 shooting from any other player's passes (0-of-6 on open looks). Westbrook scored or assisted on 28 of the Thunder's 31 points while he was on the court in the first half.
Westbrook started really lighting it up in the final five minutes, outscoring the Mavericks 16-6 in that span. He has now scored a league-best 411 points in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter/OT this season. Only two other players have scored over 300 points in those situations (Isaiah Thomas and John Wall). Westbrook has scored 44 percent of the Thunder's points on the season in these situations, particularly noteworthy since he hasn't even played during this time in 12 of their games.
For the second time this season, the Thunder ended a game on a 14-0 or better run (15-0 vs. Memphis Grizzlies on Feb. 3). The rest of the NBA has done it once.
How unusual is this on back-to-back nights?
Entering Monday, teams were 11-10,920 (.001 win pct.) when trailing by 13-plus points with under four minutes to play in the past 20 seasons. With the Kings making such a comeback against the Clippers on Sunday, it's the first time teams have made these comebacks on back-to-backs nights over the past 20 seasons.