With the game on the line, Chris Paul broke LeBron James’s ankles with a skidding pull-back crossover that appeared for all the world to set up Paul’s patented 18-foot fallaway. After eviscerating the Heat defense for four quarters, Paul did what not even Derrick Rose could do when, instead of shooting off his crossover, he glanced at the rim, set his feet and pushed the ball forward and past the lunging James. At one point the two players were moving at full speed in opposite directions–this is the definition of breaking down a defender.
(scroll to about 2:15 for the play)
Paul’s mastery of the moment stood in stark contrast what transpired 24 hours earlier when Monta Ellis awkwardly maneuvered about the 3-point line before tossing a half-hearted pass to a teammate standing four feet away as the final buzzer sounded. Except, in effect, the same exact thing happen. Check the replay, and you’ll see that for all his shaking, baking and ankle breaking, Paul didn’t get off his 12 foot floater before the red backboard light went off.
When LeBron lunged to block the shot Chris Paul never took, Twitter exploded like the crowd at an And 1 mixtape game after a someone bounces the ball of his defender’s head then just throws the it into the stands. But that embarrassing lunge kept Paul from getting a shot off and kept the Heat in the game.
Not sure this exonerates James, but the play-by-play will tell you that the Clippers failed to get a shot off after inbounding the ball with 5 seconds and change left in a tie game.