Perhaps Chris Kaman was doing his old team a favor when he purposely pushed down Chris Paul late in the third quarter Wednesday night at Portland. The Clippers were down 11 points (92-81) at the time and rallied for a huge 126-122 victory at Moda Center in Portland.
The Clippers trailed by as many as 19 points (51-32) midway through the second quarter. That they came back to win a night after giving up a 17-point second-quarter lead and losing 110-106 to Golden State at Staples Center says a lot about the Clippers’ overall character.
Most importantly, Paul scored a season-high 41 points and doled out 17 assists. Again, this was a day after Golden State’s Steph Curry embarrassed Paul by sending him sprawling on an ankle-breaking dribble move that was talked about a lot in the world of sports Wednesday.
After Kaman pushed Paul, Glen “Big Baby” Davis rushed to Paul’s defense, only to taste the canvas after being headed off at the pass by LaMarcus Aldridge, who shoved Davis away from Kaman.
Either way, this is the type of victory that could go a long way in giving the Clippers (50-26) an emotional boost that could be long-lasting.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked if Kaman pushing Paul was the best thing that could have happened for his team in the game.
“It didn’t hurt, but CP (Paul) already had it going before that, to be honest,” Rivers said. “That just brought more energy into the game. When you’re lacking energy, you’re just looking for anything. Little plays like that can help you. Or they can do you in, too. You never know how that’s going to go. I was happy how we responded after that.”
Paul was queried as to whether Kaman’s boneheaded move helped him take him up another notch.
“No, the shove didn’t take me to another level,” Paul said. “It gave me a chance to make it to the free-throw line and get a little rhythm. But I think it was just a gutsy win.”
If you haven’t seen the incident for which Kaman was called for a flagrant 1 foul, here it is: