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.