Clippers guard Chris Paul prides himself in being one of the best closers in the NBA, but he didn’t think much of the key shots he hit down the stretch of regulation and overtime in the Clippers’ 105-103 win at Houston on Sunday.
“I didn’t even get a shot,” he said. “And I also missed a free throw.”
With the ball in his hands and a chance to win the game in regulation, Paul failed to attempt a shot with Courtney Lee draped all over him. And then in the final seconds, with a chance to get the Clippers up three, Paul split on a set of free throws.
In particular, the failure to even attempt a winning try rubbed Paul the wrong way.
“Only thing I kept thinking about after regulation was who at home was watching League Pass and calling me a dummy,” Paul said. “That’s what I do when I’m watching games and I see a guy not even get a shot up at the end of regulation. The guys at home were saying, ‘This dummy didn’t even get a shot up.’
“I was calling myself a dummy, and you can ask the guys on our bench that.”
–Friday night in Phoenix, the Clippers trudged their way through a sloppy 81-78 loss. Sunday in Houston, the Clippers’ grinded out a victory, this time with plenty of fight and energy.
“Our guys battled and came off the bench and did a good job,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We had a lot of guys step up and make plays.”
In particular, the Clippers’ reserves made a major impact, with Mo Williams scoring 14 points and Kenyon Martin adding 10. Martin also grabbed seven rebounds and Reggie Evans added nine boards.
“The effort has been there. Our guys are learning and we are trying to teach them each and every possession,” Del Negro said.
–Houston native DeAndre Jordan played through flu-like symptoms Sunday in front of a hometown crowd. Jordan grabbed 11 boards and scored eight points in the Clippers’ win.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “All the little plays ended up being big plays. I was pleased with the win and we gutted it out tonight.” — Coach Vinny Del Negro on the Clippers’ tight 105-103 win at Houston on Sunday.
ROSTER REPORT PLAYER NOTES: –G Randy Foye hit six of his seven shots, including three from 3-point range, in the Clippers’ two-point win over Houston. Foye finished with 15 points in 24 minutes. –G Chris Paul had 10 assists against the Rockets. It’s the ninth time this year Paul’s had 10 or more assists in a game. –F Blake Griffin continued to struggle from the floor, hitting just 5 of 14 shots. In three games in February, Griffin’s averaging just 15.5 points. –F Reggie Evans broke out with nine rebounds in just 14 minutes Sunday against Houston. In his four previous games, Evans had grabbed just 10 rebounds.
MEDICAL WATCH: –G Chauncey Billups (left Achilles tendon) underwent surgery Wednesday to repair his Achilles tendon. Billups is out for the remainder of the season. –C DeAndre Jordan (flu-like symptoms) played 28 minutes Sunday at Houston. Jordan scored eight points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
ROTATION: Starters: –Point guard Chris Paul –Shooting guard Randy Foye –Small forward Caron Butler –Power forward Blake Griffin –Center DeAndre Jordan Bench: –Guard Mo Williams –Forward Kenyon Martin –Forward Reggie Evans –Forward Bobby Simmons –Guard Eric Bledsoe