In the chaotic final minutes of the Clipper’s 102-98 win over the Nuggets on Monday, one particular sequence stood apart.
It began with the game tied at 94 and just under two minutes remaining. Denver’s possession meandered from Ty Lawson to Kenneth Faried, then to J.J. Hickson and Arron Afflalo after an offensive rebound. Nothing the Nuggets put up would stick, but they still tried and scraped to create opportunities. They attempted three shots at the rim on this trip down the floor. The last, a turnaround from the post by Hickson, was swatted away by Blake Griffin, and then swiped away by Chris Paul.
What followed was far from a typical Clippers fast break. Paul miscalculated in his outlet pass to Jamal Crawford, though in doing so he created the opportunity for a magnificent play on Crawford’s part:
Sometimes it all works out for the best. Crawford wasn’t finished, either. He would go on to seal the game by going 6 for 7 from the free throw line down the stretch, notching 21 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. Throughout the frame he made smart plays and tough plays, though none as notable as this tie-breaking sprint-and-save to a waiting Matt Barnes.