Chris Paul sat at the podium late Tuesday night looking solemn, his eyes mostly looking down
at the media seeking answers from the Clippers point guard.
His team had lost two big leads late and fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 105-104, in Game 5 of the Western Conference playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
And Paul had played a big role in the Clippers' going down 3-2 in the best-of-seven second-round series.
Paul had two turnovers in the final 13.9 seconds.
Paul also fouled Russell Westbrook shooting a three-pointer with 6.4 seconds left, leading the Thunder point guard to making all three of the resulting free throws for the final score.
Still, the Clippers were down by a point and had the ball for one last shot, even after blowing a 13-point lead with 4:13 left and a seven-point lead with 49.2 seconds left.
But as Paul drove down the lane, he was stripped by Reggie Jackson, the ball rolling away as time expired.
Paul had a turnover with 13.9 seconds left, getting stripped by Westbrook on that play.
After Westbrook got the steal, he passed ahead to Jackson, who lost the ball out of bounds after Matt Barnes slapped the ball way.
The officials reviewed the play and awarded the ball back to the Thunder, much to the dismay of the Clippers.
On the resulting possession, Paul fouled Westbrook.
And so a tough night had gotten tougher for Paul.
He had 17 points but missed 10 of 16 shots. He also had five turnovers.
Paul and the Clippers will have to regroup for Game 6 Thursday night at Staples Center.
“You know we lost and it’s on me,” Paul said. “We had a chance to win on the last play. We didn’t get a shot off and that’s just dumb. I’m supposed to be the leader of the team.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times