Clippers Lose Overtime Thriller

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Lots to dissect here. Yes, there were some odd rotation decisions by Doc Rivers and Paul George was really bad, but instead of that, lets focus on the last 50 seconds of play.

50 Seconds Lead – 130-130

Clippers have the ball and put the ball in the hands of their best player, Kawhi Leonard. He shoots a fadeaway jump shot with 38 seconds left. Can’t fault this decision. You want Leonard to have this shot, the fact that he missed doesn’t matter. Nothing wrong with this possession.

36.2 Seconds Left – 130-130

Luka Doncic grabs the rebound after the Leonard miss. Where the Clippers want the ball in Leonard’s hands with the game on the line, the Mavericks need it in Luka’s hands. Leonard missed, Luka did not. His driving, spinning layup under normal circumstances would have been pretty spectacular, with the game on the line in overtime, it was amazing. Doncic now with 40 points on a sore ankle and the Mavericks with the lead.

19 Seconds Left – 130-132 Mavericks Lead

When you have a chance to take the last shot, you should take the last shot. Of course, things don’t always work out that way. Sometimes, you have a great shot with time still on the clock and holding it wouldn’t be the right choice. But, in general, you really should hold for the last shot when you have a chance to. The only reason to think the Clippers might pass on that opportunity in this case is to allow for an offensive rebound. If the game is tied, take the last shot, if you are behind, you may want to leave some time for a rebound. Another thing to consider is that the Clippers trust their defense when it is time to clamp down after a made shot with time left on the clock.

The team no doubt explored every option and decided to go early. Magic Johnson used to say he would start the offense with seven seconds in a situation like this. Kawhi Leonard drove with about 12 seconds left. Marcus Morris Sr. took and made the corner three, giving the Clippers a one point lead. On the surface, this looked like a good result. But…

Yup, he went to early. The Mavericks had been playing better than expected. Luka was hobbled, yet was playing amazing. Trey Burke was averaging 7.4ppg, yet was torching the Clippers with a confidence Clippers fans would love to see in Paul George! Leaving these Mavericks any time was playing with fire.

9 Seconds Left – 133-132 Clippers Lead

The Clippers had a foul to give and they took it. It was a good foul. Oftentimes, the opposing player knows you intend to foul and they start their drive quicker than normal in the hopes of getting a shot up when the inevitable foul comes. Luka is a smart player, but Reggie Jackson played it well and did not give him enough time to get into a shooting motion before he fouled him. 5.3 seconds ticked off the game clock. All in all, a good few seconds for the Clippers.

3.7 Seconds Left – 133-132 Clippers Lead

When you have a chance to take the final shot, you should take the final shot. The Clippers had that option and passed on it. The Mavericks now had it and would not pass. Sure, its harder to mess things up when there are only 3.7 seconds left, but this still needs to be pointed out. Clippers fans were praying for a stop. Mavericks fans were praying for a miracle. Luka Doncic thought it was time to channel Damian Lillard. Thankfully, Paul George was not guarding him when the shot went up. I just don’t think PG would have survived that. instead, it was Reggie Jackson who is going to have to suffer through the scorn of watching an All World player take an incredible shot.

I truly do hate it when I’m right sometimes.

0 Seconds Left – 135-133 Mavericks Win

The Clippers had no business winning this game and the basketball gods saw to it that they did not. The Mavericks had no business winning this game either though. They were without Kristaps Porzingis and Luka was hobbled and looked like it to start the game. The Clippers started by punching the Mavs in the mouth and took a 21 point lead. The Mavericks took the hit and countered with one of their own. This game was why many of us love sports. It was well played, it was well officiated and it was riveting to watch. Now, we have to see if the Mavericks are for real and they can ride Luka Doncic to the second round, or if the Clippers will adjust and be the team many think they are. Championships are not won in the first round, but the first round of the playoffs does have a tendency to expose fakers.

Game five will tell us which of those two the Clippers are.

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