It was another wild and head-scratching finish for the Clippers.
With 2.8 seconds left on the game clock and 1.7 on the shot clock in a tie game against Portland, a Chris Paul runner went off the rim. DeAndre Jordan vacuumed up the rebound with .7 seconds left and clearly thought the regulation was over. It wasn’t.
Instead of trying to tip it in or dunk it to try to win the game, Jordan stood tall holding the ball with his right arm outstretched and an animated Paul jumping around angrily and yelling at him to shoot it.
It was too late as regulation had ended, and the Blazers went on to win 98-93 in overtime.
The Clippers squandered a 10-point lead and couldn’t capitalize on an off-night for All-Star Damian Lillard, who didn’t make his first field goal until overtime.
"It was a simple mistake," Austin Rivers said. "… The clock goes off with two seconds. It just happens, man. DJ was really mad, obviously because he’s a competitor. We told DJ, DJ if you don’t play we’re not even in the game in the first place. He’s a key component to our team right now. It happens. The refs made the right call. The game was over. Overtime. They beat us."
Asked to explain what Jordan thought in that final sequence of regulation, Paul said: "I don’t know. I didn’t ask him. When that happens you move on and get ready for overtime. Didn’t matter."
Lillard was 1-for-13 from the field and scored just five points. He also had 18 rebounds. Paul put on a clinic in how to defend Lillard, but that was of little concern to Paul afterward since the Clippers lost.
"We just kind of crumbled toward the end," Austin Rivers said.
The Clippers – playing without the injured Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford – seemed to run out of gas at the end. J.J. Redick played 47 minutes, Jordan 45 and Paul 42.
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But the most impactful part of the game were those the final 2.8 seconds in regulation and the replays of Paul imploring Jordan to get a shot off after he got the rebound but thought regulation was over.
"I don’t know if he could’ve gotten it up anyway," Doc Rivers said. "Probably could’ve. We made a lot of mistakes down the stretch. That being one of them obviously. We gave up a couple of 3s, two 3s, that just can never happen."
Austin Rivers said after the game, Doc Rivers talked about how a playoff game can come down to one possession and how each player had at least one mistake they could’ve corrected.
"When he got the rebound, me and Chris, if you look at the replay, I’m sitting there like ‘Put it up!’ Austin Rivers said. "I said it before. I don’t think he heard me in the huddle. ‘There’s 1.5 (seconds) but there’s 2 on the clock.’ When you hear the buzzer, and Chris took a dribble, too. In anybody’s mind, it wasn’t D.J.’s fault, the whole stadium thought the game was over. He had the rebound like this, but the clock stopped anyway. I don’t know if we would’ve made it, would they not have counted it?
"Just a weird ending. Doesn’t matter. We shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. We should’ve won the game. They beat us. Tip my hat to them. They beat us."