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Hobbled Chris Paul Turns in Historic Performance to Advance Clippers to 2nd Round

Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports

What a game. What a series. Let’s all just take a few seconds to reflect on what happened.

[PAUSE]

Okay, here goes.

In Saturday’s Game 7 of the Western Conference first-round series (can you believe this was only the first round?) between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs, Chris Paul was absolutely dominant despite playing with a hamstring injury suffered in the first quarter, leading the Clippers to a 111-109 victory in Los Angeles. He ended the contest with 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting to go with six assists against just one turnover.

And, oh yeah, he hit the series-winning shot with one second left:

To make up for his noticeable limp, Paul stayed mostly on the perimeter. But it paid off, since he ended up 5-of-6 from the three-point line. It was a performance that’ll most definitely go down in the annals of NBA history, so if you had the pleasure of watching, consider yourself blessed.

But saying the Clippers point guard dominated the contest and neglecting everything else that happened would be a massive oversight. Aside from CP3’s legendary performance, the game was extremely close throughout:

The Clippers never led by more than six and the Spurs were never ahead by more than eight. It was a perfectly fitting end to perhaps the tightest and best series in NBA history. (Yes, I went there.)

If you’re a fan of game flow charts, notice how clean the one from Saturday’s game was:

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 11.20.05 PM

For the Spurs, old warhorse Tim Duncan led the charge with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Danny Green, who had played poorly for the rest of the series, also came up big with a well-rounded stat line of 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and five (!) blocks.

Helping out CP3 was Blake Griffin, who notched his second triple-double of the series (24 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) and continued to cause problems for the Spurs’ less athletic big men.

As mentioned before, the game was extremely tight, definitely not a game of runs, so a lot of the memorable plays came in the final minute. Aside from Paul’s jumper, the three possessions around it stand out.

With the score tied, the Clippers had the ball with 30 seconds left. Paul dribbled around the perimeter a while, then pulled up for a mid-range jumper and missed. But guess what? Duncan was called for fouling him on the shot. It was a debatable call, so I’ll let you be the judge:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSiIrGXdCxw

CP3 calmly nailed the two free throws, because of course he did.

On the next play, Duncan got an equally debatable foul call on a floater. Unfortunately, video is currently unavailable for that play, but Timmy also made both free throws, tying the score again.

Paul’s made jumper was next, but the Spurs still had one second left. A clock malfunction delayed the inbound, but the Spurs then failed on an alley-oop attempt to Kawhi Leonard, giving the Clippers the win:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNaTQa6lBEs

The Clippers now advance to play the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals. Game 1 will be on Monday, May 4.

The Spurs, on the other hand, will have some decisions to make this summer. Duncan and/or Manu Ginobili may retire and San Antonio is also interested in signing a big-name post player. We’ll see what happens with those two situations.

Seriously, if you were able to watch any of this series, always remember it, tell your grandkids about it and re-watch the games if you have the time. It was certainly one for the ages.

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