Chris Paul (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)
Today’s Big Winner: Chris Paul
6 seconds left… 5… 4…
This is why you stay up til the wee hours watching.
3… 2… 1…
This is why you want Chris Paul on your team.
This is why the NBA Playoffs matter, even if the Heat repeat feels like a lock.
The NBA’s best player not named LeBron going up against the NBA’s best defender, tie score, crowd frenzied because it is a damn-near-must-win game, clock winding down to nil.
CP3: “I looked up at the clock and said, ‘I better get a shot off.’”
You could try to ascribe some kind of meta-meaning to it — about Chris Paul’s value to the Clippers or his pre-eminent position among NBA closers — but in the end, it is Game 2 of a conference quarterfinal series and LA is merely holding serve. You probably aren’t a fan of the Clippers or the Grizzlies, and you might not even be a particularly rabid NBA fan.
The thrill is enjoying the moment for its own sake: Chris Paul vs. Tony Allen with the game on the line and no time left, with CP3 earning a supreme “degree of difficulty” score while making that flip shot off the backboard.
You will find no better example of the simple yet fundamental premise of “Why We Watch.”
Watch it again in slow motion — it is worth savoring:
More of today’s big winners:
Joakim Noah: Overcame painful plantar fasciitis in his right foot to pull off a double-double and lead the Bulls to a Game 2 win to tie the series with Brooklyn. Derrick Rose sat out his second straight playoff game, so we have no idea how he would have done while playing through injury.
Detroit Red Wings: Trying to avoid missing the NHL playoffs for the first time in 22 years. Won last night but still in 9th place, on the outside looking in. Three wins in the final three games will put them in. Worth tracking.
JR Smith: NBA 6th Man of the Year, which was kind of overshadowed by Jordan Crawford getting a single first-place vote. Not to be confused with Jamal Crawford, who was the award runner-up, and yet apparently “confused” was the reason for the snafu.
Active career wins leaders:
(1) Andy Pettitte: 248
(2) Roy Halladay: 201
(3) Tim Hudson: 199
(4) CC Sabathia: 194
(5) Derek Lowe: 176
(32) Felix Hernandez: 100
ACC: Stakes its claim as a mega-power conference by making its members agree to sign over their TV rights, which makes it highly lucrative for the group that stays… and a massive hurdle if a school wants to leave. (Obviously, the rule doesn’t apply to Notre Dame football, which makes its own rules.)
NFL Draft: Offensive tackles are the hot commodity — Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson are all expected to go in the Top 6 — and so the Dolphins, picking 12th, know they won’t be able to draft one of those Big Three, which is why they are zeroing in on making a trade for Kansas City’s Branden Albert, who is pricey but available for a 2nd-round pick.
Pop Culture: The hot trend in college football? Coaches using DJs in practice. It is only a matter of time before college football’s competitive culture means Alabama has its own house DJ making a million dollars a year.
Not a win at all: Despite a brilliant turn on Twitter on Sunday during the Lakers-Spurs game, Kobe Bryant won’t keep up with the in-game tweets, which is a shame. This is why we can’t have nice things.
First person: Went out to the ballpark last night for Nats-Cards and caught the Shelby Miller show. Needless to say: “Real deal” is an understatement. Glad I got to see MLB’s most exciting rookie first-hand, along with Bryce Harper, still my No. 1-ranked “Must-See Athlete of 2013.” (Meanwhile: Check out a list of six can’t-miss MLB future stars.)
Did CP3 push off? Phil Jackson on Twitter says: Whatever…my answer to the refs was: just call the violations on the superstars, make them play the game the right way-they make adjustments… As per MJ’s shot in game 6. That wasn’t a push off. It was a helping hand to a broke down comrade. [smiley-face emoticon]
Welcome to For The Win: This week is the launch of For The Win, USA TODAY Sports’ new project dedicated to the stories everyone is talking about — or will be talking about… or maybe should be talking about.
Updated constantly with great takes by a prolifically talented team, be sure to bookmark ftw.usatoday.com on your laptop, add it to your phone home screen and check it out constantly — and if you’re on Twitter, follow @forthewin.
- ^ Game over (www.usatoday.com)
- ^ Won last night but still in 9th place (www.usatoday.com)
- ^ which was kind of overshadowed by Jordan Crawford getting a single first-place vote (ftw.usatoday.com)
- ^ Hits 100-win milestone (www.usatoday.com)
- ^ tie for 576th all-time (www.baseball-reference.com)
- ^ thanks in large part to RVP (ftw.usatoday.com)
- ^ Best. Retirement Announcement. Ever. (ftw.usatoday.com)
- ^ making its members agree to sign over their TV rights (www.usatoday.com)
- ^ pricey but available for a 2nd-round pick (tracking.si.com)
- ^ Why do some top picks fail? (www.usatoday.com)
- ^ Coaches using DJs in practice (ftw.usatoday.com)
- ^ won’t keep up with the in-game tweets (ftw.usatoday.com)
- ^ linked to Biogenesis? (www.usatoday.com)
- ^ ESPN.com (espn.go.com)
- ^ caught the Shelby Miller show (www.stltoday.com)
- ^ Check out a list of six can’t-miss MLB future stars (ftw.usatoday.com)
- ^ Welcome to For The Win (ftw.usatoday.com)
- ^ For The Win (ftw.usatoday.com)
- ^ ftw.usatoday.com (ftw.usatoday.com)
- ^ @forthewin (www.twitter.com)
- ^ @danshanoff (www.twitter.com)