The Clippers escaped with a 98-96 victory over the Warriors in Game 3 thanks in part to a controversial no-call on the game's final play.
With just seconds remaining in regulation, Stephen Curry went one-on-one against Chris Paul on the perimeter in hopes of setting up a step back jumper. Shadowed closely by Paul, Curry's shot wound up well short, but replays seemed to indicate that Paul's right arm made contact with Curry's right arm while Paul's left hand made contact with Curry's midsection. Additionally, there was some question as to whether Paul slid in underneath Curry, as the Warriors guard fell to the floor backwards instead of coming straight down.
“I knew I got hit in the body.” Curry said, according to the Bay Area News Group. “That’s why I was kind of off-balance. That’s my go-to move, the step-back, I’m not going to shoot airballs too often.”
"I tried to make him as uncomfortable as possible, and we won the game," Paul explained.
Both coaches stood up for their players during their post-game press conferences.
"Chris did a good job of putting his hands on [Curry]," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said afterwards. "When he went up for the shot, you're supposed to be able to come down. ... You're supposed to be able to land. Clearly he wasn't able to."
Clippers coach Doc Rivers predictably took the opposite approach.
"I don't think a ref is going to bail anybody out on that play," he said.
Curry finished with 16 points (on 5-for-12 shooting) and went 3-for-8 from deep, including two threes in the game's final minutes.
The NBA league office will surely take a look at the play because the non-call came in a potentially game-deciding situation. After Game 1, NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn issued a statement admitting that the officials blew a no-call in Golden State's favor.
"I'm not looking for an apology tomorrow," Jackson said after Game 3.
The victory gave the Clippers a 2-1 series lead in advance of Game 4 at the Oracle Arena on Saturday. L.A. reclaimed homecourt advantage thanks to 32 points (on 15-for-25 shooting) and eight rebounds from Blake Griffin. DeAndre Jordan added 14 points (on 5-for-8 shooting), 22 rebounds and five blocks in the win.
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