With one second left and the score tied, Chris Paul banked in a jumper over Danny Green and Tim Duncan to give the Clippers a 111-109 win over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series on Saturday.
Paul finished with a team-high 27 points on nine-for-13 shooting and six assists. He made five of his six three-point attempts.
The Clippers' point guard did this while injured.
With two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Paul sustained a left hamstring strain. The Clippers said it was questionable whether he'd return.
Paul, who for the first time in his career had played in every game, was about to miss the most important one.
"I was frustrated because I was like, all this time, all season long, and then Game 7 my body is going to let me down," Paul said.
Paul checked back into the game with 6 minutes 27 seconds left in the second quarter.
"When I came back, Blake [Griffin] just kept asking me if I was all right," Paul said, "and I thought about our team and all the things we've been through, and I know that if it was any other guy on our team in a situation like this, they couldn't have laid down, so just tried to find a way."
Paul opened the fourth quarter by making a three-pointer. Then with 13.3 seconds left and the score tied at 107-107, Tim Duncan fouled Paul. Paul made both free throws to put the Clippers up by two. J.J. Redick then fouled Duncan, who made both of his free throws to the score at 109-109 with 8.8 seconds remaining.
Earlier in the day Saturday, Paul said that he and Blake Griffin had discussed with Clippers Coach Doc Rivers who would take the game-winner in Game 7 if it came down to that.
"We talked about if we get down into a last-second shot what we wanted to do," Paul said. "We've been in that situation a lot of times already this year, and most of the time I hadn't made it, to tell you the truth. We talked about it, and finally it worked when we needed it."
Paul made the game winner when it counted the most, knocking off the Spurs, who have won five NBA championships, including one last season. The Clippers have never made it past the second round of the playoffs.
"He was incredible all-around," Tim Duncan said of Paul. "Just an amazing competitor. I know he was a little hurt, and he played through all that, found ways to get it done. I mean, just unbelievable last shot over two of us. He's just a great leader, and it was amazing to watch. I wish I wasn't on the other end."
Paul shares a deep respect for Duncan and his team too.
"Man, I couldn't sleep [Friday] night," Paul said. "My son had a game at 9:45 [Saturday] morning. I went to that game, and he was telling me on the way home that I had to win tonight. You know, those guys right there are legends, seriously, from [Spurs Coach Gregg] Pop[ovich], to Tim, to Tony [Parker], to Manu [Ginobili].
"Down the stretch our team has a thing that we say, what Doc said, don't let go of the rope. At any time we could have let go of the rope, and just thought it's these guys, we've fought hard and we could have conceded. But we kept fighting and guys made plays in order to win."