Chris Paul: Gutting It Out and Getting It Done

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Chris Paul hit the game winner. He hit the game winning shot with 1.0 second left in regulation to send Timmy Duncan and the defending champion San Antonio Spurs home packing. It was nip and tuck and back and forth and give and take the whole way, and it was probably the best NBA game I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Chris Paul and The Los Angeles Clippers accomplished the improbable, eliminating the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series with a 111-109 win Saturday, May 2, 2015 at Staples Center. Fitting for the series, the game came down to the final second. With one tick of a tock left on the clock and the game tied, 109-109, Chris Paul made an incredible, unbelievable, almost impossible, running jumper that banked high off of the glass with Tim Duncan and Danny Green in his face to give the Clippers the win.

Clippers Win Game 7

Chris Paul put in a gutsy, gamey, gritty performance as he played through an aching hamstring for most of the game. Essentially, Paul played on a bad leg and with one good “wheel” down the stretch. Paul played hurt, and gutted it out to get it done. Paul painted a powerful picture and presented a perfect performance in order to lead and pull and direct and drag and steer and strap his team on his back to cross the finish line first and secure the victory.

The Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs provided a near-perfect capper to their thrilling seven-game series. And let’s not forget that these same Clippers forced a Game 7 by avoiding elimination in Game 6 with a 102-96 win in San Antonio on Thursday. It was a fitting end to the past championships won by San Antonio, and perfect prelude to what the future may hold for Paul and The Clippers.

So “Go” Chris Paul. “Go” Blake Griffin.” Go” Doc Rivers. And “Go” Clippers. They’re broken the spell and jettisoned the jinx and hurled the hex that they’ve been living under for years: that they’re not good enough for the second-round of the playoffs and that they’re just a second fiddle team and a second row contender in the post season. The Clippers have only been in the playoffs four times, and only once have they made it past the first round. Now, they’re always the bridesmaid and never the bride no more.

And Paul gave us yet another pertinent portrait for our spiritual lives. Hurting and hobbled physically and smarting and smacking emotionally, Paul pulled off THE signature playoff win of his career. He probably shouldn’t have played, but there was no way Doc Rivers or anybody else could have held him down or held him back. He HAD to play, bad leg and all, and play he did. Paul played gallantly and valiantly and won the game to boot.

So now all they have to do handle Houston and riddle the Rockets. Good luck. Oops! We don’t believe in LUCK!

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