Clippers Edge Past Spurs In Decider To Clinch Series
Vintage Chris Paul guided the Los Angeles Clippers to edge past the San Antonio Spurs 111-109 in Game 7 to clinch the 1st round playoff series on Saturday. The most evenly contested series of the playoffs went down the wire as Game 7 also witnessed a nail-biting finish.
Defending champions Spurs led the series 3-2 after winning the pivotal Game 5, but couldn’t finish it off as the Clippers bounced back strongly to win two in a row. Chris Paul left the court in the first quarter with an injured hamstring but came back later in the 2nd quarter to lead Los Angeles with 27 points on 9 for 13 shooting and three assists. Blake Griffin added 24 points to the winner’s score.
“I was frustrated because I was like, all this time, all season long, and then Game 7 my body is going to let me down,” point-guard Paul said.
“When I came back, Blake [Griffin] just kept asking me if I was all right, and I thought about our team and all the things we’ve been through, and I know that if it was any other guy on our team in a situation like this, they couldn’t have laid down, so just tried to find a way.”
Paul started the 4th quarter with a 3-pointer and was fouled by Tim Duncan at critical stage with only 13.3 seconds remaining. The match tied at 107 each. He scored from both free throws to give his side the lead. Duncan then restored parity scoring of free throws after being fouled by J.J. Redick. Tied at 109, 8.8 seconds remained. Now Paul took charge to score a jumper over Tim Duncan to knock-out the five-time champions Spurs.
“He was incredible all-around,” Spurs star Tim Duncan explained about Paul.
“Just an amazing competitor. I know he was a little hurt, and he played through all that, found ways to get it done. I mean, just unbelievable last shot over two of us. He’s just a great leader, and it was amazing to watch. I wish I wasn’t on the other end.”
Los Angeles now moves on to Houston for Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinal scheduled on Monday.