Lou Williams gives Clippers a 3-point lifeline

Williams scores 35 points, including a game-winning 3-point shot with 1.2 seconds to lift the Clippers to a 113-112 win against the Wizards

Lou Williams scored 35 points, including the winning 3-point shot to give the Los Angeles Clippers a 113-12 win against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

LOS ANGELES, CA-What would the Clippers do without Lou Williams? That’s a narrative that Clippers coach Doc Rivers would probably not think about. In the wake of the Clippers losing four of their five opening day starters to injuries for an extended time, Williams has been the void-filler with his automatic scoring sprees and his impromptu, explosive point tallies.

The Washington Wizards got their fill of the Williams’ scoring machine when the veteran shooting guard lit them up for 35 points in the Clippers’ 113-112 Saturday matinee win at Staples Center. The Clippers needed every single point that Williams scored to win their first game in their last five contests.

That 29-foot heave that Williams lifted over an outreached hand of Wizards guard Bradley Beal with 1.2 seconds left in the game, was the game-clincher for Los Angeles. For the game, Williams (19.7 points per game) went 11 for 20 in field goal attempts and converted nine of his 10 free throws on his way to another big game.

Danilo Gallinari had 25 points in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 113-112 win against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

Like former Clipper Jamal Crawford, Rivers has come to expect such a performance from Williams.

“I’ve coached Jamal [Crawford], so I’ve had a good string of sixth men here,” Rivers said. “Lou {Williams] is just so efficient. He’s just like Jamal in being a professional scorer [and] that they both kind of started out as point guards, so they can make plays. I think the biggest thing that Lou has done now is, you know the old scouting reports don’t let him go left, and he’s killing people going right-right now. He has you on skates because you don’t want him to go left but he’s going right, and so he has you right now.”

Both the Clippers and Wizards, who were playing without John Wall, both looked like they were riding on skates in the fourth quarter as they played tit-for-tat with lead changes all the way up until Williams converted his cool-under-fire 3-point shot to win the game.

“If I go left I like my chances, that’s just where the game takes you,” Williams said. “I made a move, Bradley [Beal} was on it and like I said, I like my chances when I am going left. I was able to pull up with a one dribble pull up going left, and I like that shot whether it is thirteen feet, or thirty feet.”

The last minute of the game was a doozy even before Williams launched his-game winner. In last the last 13 seconds, the Clippers appeared to win the game on an Austin Rivers 3-point shot with 12.2 seconds. Four seconds later, Beal looked like he was going to be the Wizards’ hero when he made both of his free throws to give Washington the edge. Rivers squashed that wish-upon-a-star thinking. Staples Center erupted when Williams’ shot hit nothing but net.

Lou Williams driving to the basket against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

“Lou [Williams] played great, and he’s been playing great for us the whole season,” said Danilo Gallinari. “He is the kind of player that can do those plays at the end. I am very happy for him, and I am happy for the team that we got the win.”

This is when things got weird and the real drama began. It’s kind of difficult to imagine a lot happening with just over a second left on the clock of a ballgame. Strangers things have happened, but with time just about up, Beal appeared to get a shot off before the buzzer flared that would have given Washington the win. A review showed an apparent clock malfunction. The Clippers and the Wizards had a re-do, but this time around Beal could not get open and get his hands on the ball. Game over.

Washington coach Scott Brooks wouldn’t wade into that territory as a reason why the Wizards lost the game.

“I never complain about tough decisions and tough plays at the end of the game that the refs have to make,” Brooks said. “It’s tough, they had nothing to do with the offensive rebound and they had nothing to do with guys not ready to play. We have to have all of our guys ready to play; this is a team game. We need all guys ready to play and we didn’t have this afternoon.”

Beal had the opposite approach of Brooks.

“To me, it kind of didn’t make sense because it took a basket away and you go back, and he said we get the same amount of time, but we didn’t get the same amount of time, and then the ball was placed in the corner,” Beal said. “I don’t really understand it. We had a great play and now that you take that away, that gives the defense a chance to set up, and now we have to go back and try to change into a different play with the ball in the corner.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1166 Articles

Dennis covers the NFL (Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a proud alum of Howard University.