Christian Petersen/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Chris Paul wasn’t going to let a bum hamstring stop him from being on the court in Game 7 of the Los Angeles Clippers’ first round playoff series versus the San Antonio Spurs.
Paul, who left the game at the end of the first quarter to tend to a left hamstring strain, returned in the second quarter. He played the rest of the way, scoring a team-high 27 points including what proved to be the game winning shot with a second remaining as the Clippers top the Spurs 111-109 Saturday to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.
The Spurs once again fail to repeat as NBA champions, but they put up a good fight. In a game that featured 31 lead changes, their old horse, Tim Duncan, was fouled with a little over eight seconds remaining. He knocked down two free throws to tie the game at 109.
On the following play, Paul drove Danny Green into the paint, pulled up, and knocked down a five-foot jumper to take the lead. The Spurs had one last crack at tying the game, but Boris Diaw’s inbounds pass that was meant for Kawhi Leonard, who was driving to the hoop, was swatted away by Matt Barnes as the clock struck zero.
Duncan finished the game with 27 points and 11 rebounds.
The No. 3 seed Clippers advance to the second round where they will take on the No. 2 seed Houston Rockets.
Game 1 is Monday at 9:30 p.m. ET in Houston.
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