Watch C.J. Williams game-winning three for Clippers vs. Hawks

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — C.J. Williams took a shot coach Doc Rivers didn’t want him to take, and Rivers could only laugh. Just as he’s prone to do with these Clippers.

Williams hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with nine seconds left to lift Los Angeles over the Atlanta Hawks 108-107 on Monday night.

“I’ve made that shot before. It was just a rhythm dribble to my left,” Williams said. “Once we got the offensive rebound, I felt the momentum and I felt the excitement of the moment, so I wanted to take the 3. I took that dribble and I shot it with confidence. As soon as I let it go I knew it was in.”

Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 34 points but missed a late 3 that resulted in a long rebound by Wesley Johnson. He passed the ball out to C.J. Williams for a shot that snapped the Clippers’ two-game skid.

“The thing about Doc is he didn’t necessarily want the 3, but he lets you play,” C.J. Williams said. “I was in rhythm. As soon as I took the dribble it felt good. I didn’t want to take it all the way to the basket and take a chance of getting my shot blocked.”

With his team down 107-105, Rivers wanted the Clippers to go for a two-point basket to tie it, only to be overruled by his rookie in the final seconds.

“I was actually yelling, `We don’t need a 3,”‘ Rivers said. “But you could see he was comfortable and he wanted it.

“I’ve said I love coaching this team,” he added. “They play hard. We laugh a lot. We have to with some of the things we do out there on the floor. We make some crazy mistakes at times. But with this group you’ve just got to laugh it off and move on to the next play.”

Atlanta set up its defense to keep Lou Williams from taking the Clippers’ last shot.

“We didn’t want him to make the last shot, but he was able to get one off,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Long rebound and Wesley Johnson comes up with it and kicks it to C.J. Williams, who makes a tough 3. That’s just a bad break for us.”

On the final possession, Atlanta got the ball to Kent Bazemore, who was guarded by Johnson. He forced Bazemore to pass across to Taurean Prince, who missed a 15-foot jumper with three seconds remaining.

“Wes saved us with the switch,” Rivers said. “When Prince got the ball, he was shooting over Lou and I was dying over there.”

DeAndre Jordan added 25 points and 18 rebounds as Los Angeles won despite blowing a 13-point lead in the third quarter. The Clippers played without leading scorer Blake Griffin, who suffered a concussion Saturday against Golden State.

 

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.

Watch Lakers fan drain half-court shot to win $75,000

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
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It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.

Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).

One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.