The first round of the NBA playoffs has lost a little of its oomph, what with the expansion to seven games and all.
But every so often, something exciting happens. Like Kobe Bryant tweeting. Or Chris Paul hitting a game-winning bank shot with .01 showing on the clock. That heroic little shot gave the Los Angeles Clippers a 93-91 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night in Los Angeles.
Here’s how it went down, via SI.com’s Lee Jenkins:
Paul set a screen for [Jamal] Crawford, in hopes Mike Conley would switch onto him, and for a moment he thought the plan worked. But the Grizzlies allow the fewest points of any team in the Western Conference for a reason. [Tony] Allen switched back to Paul. They paired off, 45 feet from the basket, and Paul glanced up at the clock. He wondered if he’d even get a shot off. Paul made three moves to his right, just to reach the three-point line, and Allen was still wearing him like a second jersey. They exchanged hand-checks, and Paul leaned into Allen slightly, gaining a sliver of separation. He lunged toward the right side of the key, and off one leg, lofted a short runner over the outstretched arm of Darrell Arthur, a power forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan. Paul turned his back as the ball brushed off the glass and through the hoop. The crowd at Staples Center, dressed in red, rose like a crimson tide. Blake Griffin wrapped Paul in a suffocating headlock. “There are a lot of reasons we got him,” said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. “But that’s obviously one of them.”
Paul finished with 24 points — and scored all of the Clippers’ last eight points.
“Tony played as good a defense as you could have,” Paul said. “I looked up to the clock and thought to myself, ‘I better get a shot off.’ So I just tried to attack. Luckily, I made the shot.”
The series now shifts to Memphis, with the Clippers up 2-0. Now, they’re looking like the team that went 16-0 in December, reeling off 17 straight wins overall. This is a good time to be that team again.
I want to know what Cliff Paul is going to do to top that…? Tough shot.
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) April 23, 2013