Chris Paul had one good leg to work with. He’d pulled up lame with a left hamstring strain late in the first quarter and hobbled his way through the final two-and-a-half frames of Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs. Apparently, one good leg was all Paul needed. With the clock winding down and the score tied at 109 apiece, Paul drove to the hole, tossed a high-arching shot over the outstretched arms of two Spurs and watched as it dropped through off the glass—all on one leg.
A subsequent Spurs lob to Kawhi Leonard, spoiled by a false buzzer from the scorer’s table, went wanting, and the Clippers went limping into the second round with a 111-109 win over the defending champs. “[At walk-through today] we talked about if we get down into a last-second shot what we wanted to do,” Paul relayed after the game, his game shorts still on under his jacket and brimmed hat. “We’ve been in that situation a lot of times already this year, and most of the time I hadn’t made it, to tell you the truth. We talked about it, and finally it worked when we needed it.”
“That was huge for us, just the shot,” Doc Rivers marveled. “I’m so happy for him. The shot alone, no balance on the shot, falling backwards, amazing.” The same could be said of the entirety of Paul’s Isiah Thomas-like performance. He answered Doc Rivers’ pregame call to be aggressive, scoring 22 of his 27 points and shooting 4-of-5 from three after returning from the locker room in the middle of the second quarter. “He’s just tough—he’s a street fighter,” Rivers said of Paul.
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