For all the good Chris Paul did against Memphis on Monday, the thing he’ll not soon forget was the last-second turnover.
Mike Conley stole the ball from Paul to ensure there would be no game-winner for the Clippers.
Paul was reviewing the play after the game to see what he could’ve done differently in that instance and the play before. Paul had 30 points and 10 assists to lead the Clippers but that last play stuck with him.
Down by one point against Memphis, J.J. Redick got a defensive rebound with 14.8 seconds left, and Paul soon brought the ball up the court. And with 1.9 seconds left, Grizzlies guard Mike Conley stole it.
"Last play, just turned the ball over," Paul said. All I can think about is if I was at home watching this game, I’d say ‘this dummy didn’t get a shot up.’ In that situation you’ve got to give yourself a chance."
Paul leaned over in disappointment at midcourt, and teammate Spencer Hawes patted him on the back and gave him a side hug.
After Paul’s turnover, Matt Barnes fouled Conley, who made both free throws with 1.5 seconds left. Barnes made an errant pass after that, and Memphis held on to win, 90-87 at Staples Center.
"We gave ourselves a chance. We had the ball (for a final shot)," Paul said. "You at least have to get a shot up, not a turnover. That’s on me."
Paul’s teammates were quick to defend their leader, who had a big game and has led the Clippers to a 4-2 stretch without Blake Griffin, who’s been out two weeks following elbow surgery to remove a staph infection. The Clippers had won four consecutive games, too. But there was that costly turnover late.
"It happens," DeAndre Jordan said. "We’re going to live and with Chris and Blake (Griffin) at the end of the game. It was tough because he played well the entire game and it (came down to) one play."
Twice during the game, Clippers fans chanted "CP3!" He surpassed the 12,500-point career mark, too.
With Griffin out, and the ball in Paul’s hands and no timeouts, the Grizzlies pressured Paul with Conley and Courtney Lee. Doc Rivers didn’t like the Clippers’ spacing on that play, either.
5 things: Grizzlies grind Clippers’ offense to a halt
"I give credit to Courtney," Conley said. "He really did a fantastic job on (Paul) at the end of the game. He forced him to a side and was able to cut him off. I just took a gamble, went after the ball, and I was able to come up with it."
The Clippers don’t have to wait long to try to avenge this loss. They leave for a four-game roadtrip on Tuesday and play Memphis again on Friday. The Clippers can clear their minds of the Memphis game that got away against the Rockets on Wednesday.
Paul has had the ball in his hands for last second-shots and game-winners all too often, and you know that will happen again. But this time, he wasn’t able to get a shot off.
"He’s a competitor," said Glen "Big Baby" Davis. "Without his 30 points, we wouldn’t be in that game. It’s just one possession. If he had another chance, I’d bet on him again. That’s the way it goes."