With under 10 seconds remaining at home against the Grizzlies on Monday, the Clippers trailed by a single point, and the ball was in Chris Paul’s hands.
L.A. normally likes its chances in these situations, but Paul was stripped by Mike Conley as he made his move toward the basket, sealing the game in the Grizzlies’ favor.
Paul is one of the game’s more fiery competitors, so it was no surprise that he was hard on himself afterward.
“If I was at home watching this game, I would say, ‘This dummy didn’t even get a shot up,'” Paul said of himself. “You at least have to give yourself a chance.”
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers blamed his team for contributing to the turnover.
“It was a random play because we didn’t have a timeout and it was a fastbreak for the most part,” Rivers said, “but I thought our spacing was horrendous and I told our guys that after the game.”
Rivers has a point — because if you watch closely, this wasn’t even Paul’s fault.
Spencer Hawes had set up in the corner to try to draw his man out of the paint, and J.J. Redick initially tried to do the same. Once he realized the space was occupied, Redick made a half-hearted attempt to set Paul a screen. But since he didn’t commit, and drifted back toward the three-point line as Paul made his move, Conley was in perfect position as the help defender to poke the ball away.
Paul is always going to admit when he makes a mistake like this, especially when it occurs on his team’s final chance to win the game. But in this instance, the Redick-Hawes nightmare on the wing is what was ultimately to blame for the ending in this one.