The Los Angeles Clippers nearly had their franchise-best winning streak stopped on Friday night, but thanks to Chris Paul the NBA's best team pulled out its 16th consecutive victory, a 116-114 road win over the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.
Paul scored a season-high 29 points, including seven in the final 99 seconds. But none were more impressive then the two points above that he laid on poor Gordon Heyward, who was out of his element attempting to check Paul. That jumper widened the Clippers' lead to three points, which helped to complete an impressive comeback.
Down 19 points in the third quarter, the Clippers would have been well within their rights to lose in Utah, which was their house of horrors in recent years. From 1990 through 2011, the Clippers lost 42 of 43 road games to the Jazz.
But that was before Paul arrived in Los Angeles. With CP3, the Clippers lost once in Utah but have won their last three games in Salt Lake City, with the three wins by a total of five points. Performing well in close games is what Paul does best.
"The Clippers are led by the best point guard in basketball, the smartest player in basketball, the best leader in basketball, the top closer in basketball," wrote Steve Perrin at Clips Nation. "At the end of close games, it comes down to players making plays, and no one in the league makes more plays than Chris Paul."
Just ask Hayward.