Clippers’ Chris Paul says Spurs’ Tim Duncan traveled on game-winner
By Ben Golliver
Tim Duncan hit a game-winning jumper with two seconds left to push the Spurs past the Clippers 104-102 in San Antonio on Saturday, but Chris Paul thought the future first-ballot Hall of Fame big man got away with a Texas two-step.
The Los Angeles Times reports the Clippers guard didn’t believe Duncan’s shot should have counted because he shuffled his feet before launching it.
“He traveled,” Paul said. “I can say that, right? He traveled. I just looked at the film. He made an unbelievable shot, though.”
Down one in the game’s closing seconds, the Spurs inbounded to Danny Green, who waited for Duncan to come clear at the high post after he set a back screen along the baseline. Duncan collected the pass and took one dribble to his left, setting up a pull-up shot for the win. Clippers guard Willie Green then unexpectedly jumped out at him aggressively, getting stuck in the air as Duncan prepared the shot.
Rather than pump and wait for Green to clear, Duncan leaned in, drawing contact, and then launched a jumper that caught the front rim, bounced off the backboard and finally swished home. He was awarded a free throw — which he made — for the contact from Green. During the pump and lean action, though, Duncan appeared to get happy feet before letting go of the winner.
USA Today Sports reports Spurs guard Tony Parker was too busy celebrating to be worried about the pitter-patter steps.
“Great shot; unbelievable shot,” Parker said of Duncan’s game-winner. “He had a couple misses (and) I know he was mad with himself against Houston (in a loss on Sunday). This time he made a huge shot in a huge game. He was unbelievable tonight.”
Duncan missed a potential game-winning attempt in the closing seconds of a March 24 loss to the Rockets after James Harden gave Houston the lead with a leaning jumper.
San Antonio, the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed, improved to 55-17 with the win. L.A., the West’s No. 4 seed, dropped to 49-24 with the loss. Duncan finished with a game-high 34 points (on 12-for-19 shooting) and 11 rebounds in 32 minutes. The Clippers were led by 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists from Blake Griffin.