The Los Angeles Clippers fell to the Boston Celtics in an overtime thriller on Wednesday night, but the losing team’s effort was hardly all for naught. As Chris Paul showed with a typically canny play in crunch time, good things can indeed come from a loss.
Trailing 130-127 with 2:41 left in the extra session, Boston intentionally fouled DeAndre Jordan and sent him to the line. Los Angeles’ big man made one of two freebies after getting hugged by Jonas Jerebko, and Jared Sullinger drained a triple on the green and gold’s ensuing possession. Hack-a-DeAndre at its finest!
Perhaps taking note of Boston’s success hacking his big man, Chris Paul made sure that trade-off wouldn’t happen again. As Jerebko came up the court to foul Jordan again immediately after Sullinger’s three-pointer, Los Angeles’ floor general suddenly zagged in his path before the Celtics forward could reach Jordan – earning two free throws of his own in the process.
Paul, perhaps dealing with divine intervention from the basketball gods, missed the front end of his pair before making the second one. Evan Turner hit a jumper thereafter, too, tying the game at 132-132 to give Boston a plus-three advantage since it first fouled Jordan.
The Point God won the battle, basically, but the Celtics won the war. Either way, we won’t forget his typically sly way to avoid the specter of Jordan free throws down the stretch of a close game – and future opponents shouldn’t, either.