Lou Williams was dancing with the basketball Saturday afternoon as the clock was winding down on a tense game between the Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans that was still in doubt.
Williams dribbled to his right and then crossed over to his left, giving him just enough room to hoist a three-pointer over the outstretched hand of the long-armed Brandon Ingram.
After the ball settled into the net with 31.6 seconds left to give the Clippers a six-point lead, Williams coolly eased his way back down court because the Pelicans had called a timeout and he had supplied another dagger shot for his team.
He then cuffed his right hand and slightly bent over to pretend he were rolling dice. His teammates came off the bench to join Williams, making a semi-circle around him as they also pretended to roll dice.
“Yeah, man, we make a big shot like that we always shoot the dice,” Williams said, smiling. “Bet on yourself.”
His teammates had bet on Williams the entire fourth quarter, watching him drop 14 of his 32 points in the final stanza.
And so when he made the back-breaking three-pointer, they joined in the celebration with Williams.
“That’s what it is, man, shake the dice, snatch up that number real quick and see if you can get it back,” Montrezl Harrell said. “It’s just the type of shots he makes, so live with it and roll that dice.”
Williams has been on point for the Clippers during January.
In eight games, he has averaged 24 points, 5.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds. He has made 49.6% of his field goals, 50% of his three-pointers and 94% of his free throws.
“I’m just hooping,” Williams said. “We know we got about seven or eight more [games] before we get into the All-Star break and we’re on a good run. I just have that mentality when you’re trying to build and you’re trying to grow with a group of guys, you don’t want to be that guy to not do your part. And I understand that my part is scoring the ball and getting other guys involved and making plays. I just want to do my part.”
The sixth-man phenom is enjoying yet another fantastic campaign.
He’s averaging 20 points per game, third-best on the Clippers and tied for the second-highest of his 15-year career. He’s averaging 6.2 assists per game, a career-high that leads the Clippers. He’s averaging 30 minutes per game, the third-highest on the Clippers and the second-highest of his career.
“He’s a very talented scorer,” Kawhi Leonard said. “He’s fearless and just goes out there and plays the game. He got into a great rhythm tonight. He pushed us to win that game in the fourth quarter and it just gives you a relief that you have somebody that can also take over.”
The Clippers were down by as many as 14 points in the third quarter and had entered the fourth down eight.
Williams struck right away in the fourth, scoring on a layup, hitting a pull-up three-pointer and finding JaMychal Green for a three-pointer that tied the score.
Williams was in a groove now, and he and his teammates knew it.
“You make one shot, I feel like I can hit 100 in a row,” Williams said. “I was able to make one at the top of the fourth and get a layup and that’s a pretty good rhythm shot to get another one going and then two guys jump out on me and [I] get JaMychal going and you got a new ballgame. But I feel like if I make one, especially an easy one and I can read how the defense is playing, I feel like I can make anything after that.”