Late into Game 3 of the playoff series against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, after Chris Paul had come up big on the defensive end, the Clippers point guard could finally talk about his illness.
Paul hates to discuss his injuries but was being forced to open up about the 100-degree temperature
that had weakened him the last two days. And that was on top of an injured right hamstring.
But Paul had enough energy to play 34 minutes, 32 seconds against the Warriors on Thursday, be the closer the Clippers have always relied on and to come up with the biggest defensive stop of the game.
"You just try to find a way," Paul said. "Nobody cares about the hamstring. Nobody cares if you're sick or anything like that. You just try to find a way to win. I knew we had two days in between [Games 2 and 3]. So you just leave it all out there."
Paul scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, eight in the final 3:04.
But he made only one of two free throws with 8.6 seconds left, putting the Clippers ahead by two points, 98-96, and leaving the door open for the Warriors to tie the score or even win the game.
The Warriors put the ball into the hands of All-Star point guard Stephen Curry.
But Paul didn't let Curry get any room for an easy shot, sticking to his opponent and forcing Curry into missing an off-balance three-point shot just before time expired.
Paul's efforts, including his defense against Curry, helped the Clippers to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference series.
"I knew who was getting it," Paul said. "I figured he was going to shoot it. So I just tried to make him as uncomfortable as possible. We won the game."