Chris Paul has earned a reputation over the years for being one of the most overbearing players in the league. Not only is he constantly chirping at his teammates on both sides of the floor to point out their miscues or to usher them back into position; he is relentless in lobbying the officiating crew for calls.
This behavior ballooned to an absurdist level during his time with the Clippers, as the Lob City squad became notorious for constantly complaining to the referees. And it wasn’t just Paul. It was Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin, and everyone else in between. They were almost as famous for that as they were their high-flying dunks.
Two teams later, and Paul is up to his old tricks again. This time, he may have actually swung a game in his favor. Late in the fourth quarter against the Timberwolves on Friday night, with his team trailing 121-119 and Karl-Anthony Towns at the free throw line, Paul noticed that Jordan Bell had entered the game with his jersey un-tucked and successfully complained to the nearest ref until he called a delay-of-game technical.
Chris Paul getting the officials to call a foul on a dead ball because Jordan Bell hadn’t tucked in his jersey is max level CP3 pic.twitter.com/gZe3BrR7Yr
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 7, 2019
Danilo Gallinari would make the technical free throw on the other end, followed by a successful KAT free throw to make it 122-120. On the ensuing play, Dennis Schroder would make the running layup to send it into overtime. From there, the Thunder would run away with it and get the 139-127 win. Paul would finish with 30 points on the night.
Now, you can quickly go down the rabbit hole when it comes to pointing to a particular play or sequence that decided the game, but there’s no question Paul did everything in his power — and within the rules, however arbitrary — to give the Thunder an opportunity to win this game, and that’s exactly what happened. It’s hard to argue with the result.