But what positioned him to make that exciting play?
Four missed calls in the Last Two Minute Report, each of them favoring Oklahoma City.
Two of the missed calls overlapped. Westbrook (with 1:35 left) or, absent that, Steven Adams (1:34 left) should have been called for a defensive three-second violation:
Westbrook (OKC) is in the paint without actively guarding an opponent for longer than three seconds.
Adams (OKC) is in the paint without actively guarding an opponent for longer than three seconds
Instead of getting a technical free throw and a chance to reset against a legal defense, the Rockets missed. Though they grabbed the offensive rebound, they also missed a second-chance shot, and the Thunder grabbed the defensive rebound.
Roberson (OKC) clamps the arm of Harden (HOU) and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound.
The Thunder weren’t yet in the penalty, so Harden wouldn’t have gotten free throws. But at least Houston would have kept the ball with a fresh shot clock rather than the reality: Adams grabbing the defensive rebound to give Oklahoma City the ball.
Finally and most directly, the Thunder had the ball for their final possession only after Westbrook got away with a loose-ball foul on Clint Capela with eight seconds left:
Westbrook (OKC) grabs the arm of Capela (HOU) affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.
The Thunder still weren’t in the penalty (though a correct call on Roberson 40 seconds earlier would’ve put them there). So, this wouldn’t have resulted in free throws. Still, Houston would’ve had the ball in a one-possession game – or maybe have been in better position if we consider the previous missed calls.
Instead, we know what happened next: