The Los Angeles Clippers blew a one-point lead with 0.9 seconds remaining in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. DeAndre Ayton dunked a perfectly impossible pass from Jae Crowder and the Phoenix Suns took a 2-0 series lead. But don't let that you distract from the fact that the Clippers did these three things at the end of the game that they should never live down if they don't come back to win this series.
Paul George Choked
Paul George missed two free throws with 8.2 seconds remaining last night. This was one of the highest-profile and ill-fated trips to the charity stripe we've seen in a while and it could be mostly ignored because of the referees' instant replay obsession and Ayton's game-winner.
If Paul had made them, the Clippers would have had a three-point lead. If he had made one, DeAndre Ayton's dunk only would have sent the game to overtime. Sure, even a single make would have sent us onto a completely different timeline, but that doesn't matter.
On this timeline Paul George choked. Only the biggest, most disingenuous troll alive could say otherwise. On this timeline, the Clippers have fallen behind 0-2 for the third straight series in this postseason. Of course, on this timeline we also have a lot of other stuff going on, so it's understandable if we don't spend too much time thinking about Paul George coming up empty on the biggest, most important free throws attempts of his career.
Patrick Beverley's Victory Lap
Patrick Beverley knocked the ball away from Devin Booker with 8.2 seconds remaining and instant replay showed it had touched Booker last. While you wouldn't make that call in any park or on any playground in America, in the NBA it's a turnover. Beverley, having made a good defensive play to even poke the ball away at all 20 seconds after Booker had just cooked him for the go-ahead jumper, immediately asked for a review. When it looked like the Clippers had secured victory, Beverley took a victory lap.
As Phoenix prepared for the game-winning inbounds play, which they were able to set up without any timeouts because Beverley and the Clippers insisted on another instant replay review, Beverley kept talking.
And then Ayton dunked it.
DeMarcus Cousins Shoved Devin Booker
How much blame should DeMarcus Cousins shoulder for not taking away Jae Crowder's view of the basket? Did the best coach in the NBA tell him to shade towards the sideline to prevent Crowder from seeing Devin Booker from coming off a screen for a catch-and-shoot?
We may never know, but what we do know is that DeMarcus Cousins shoved Devin Booker as the teams went back to their benches as officials were busy preparing for their fifth review of the final minutes.
Now did Booker instigate this by immediately going to talk to the Clippers bench after the Ayton dunk? Also yes.
Booker had probably heard enough at that point. Still, the fact that the officials both missed this live and on review seems curious. You have to wonder if the league will say anything. A suspension is unecessary, but they might want to acknowldge this happened. Not that you could blame them. There was a lot going on.