Here is how key Chris Paul has been to Los Angeles in the playoffs: When he’s been on the floor in the first six games the Clippers are +12, when he sits they are -17.
So when he pulled up with a strained hamstring late in the first quarter, all of Clippers nation held its breath.
Paul was leading a fast break when he reached back and grabbed his hamstring — it didn’t stop him from shouldering Patty Mills, creating space and draining a three. But he almost instantly went to the bench and put his head in his hands.
Then he went to the locker room.
He came back out eight minutes later, stretched on the bench for a second, then re-entered the game to a huge ovation from the fans. That said, he was clearly hobbling, not moving well at all. His lateral movement was noticeably slower.
Thanks to nine points from Jamal Crawford, the Clippers were only -2 with Paul out, staying right with the Spurs in a tight Game 7.