NBA Playoffs 2014, Thunder vs. Clippers: Chris Paul takes blame after Game 5 loss

Ronald Martinez

In the middle of a referee controversy, Chris Paul took all the blame after his Clippers fell to the Thunder.

SB Nation 2014 NBA Playoff Bracket

The Los Angeles Clippers got the sour end of an out-of-bounds call when Thunder guard Reggie Jackson lost the ball after being met near the rim by Matt Barnes. So Doc Rivers used to postgame press conference to vent over the referees after the devastating 105-104 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul, on the other hand, took the time to shake his head and put the blame square on his own shoulders.

From ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi:

"We lost. It's on me," Paul said. "hey scored and we have a chance to win on the last play and I don't even get a shot up. That's just dumb. I'm supposed to be the leader of the team. That can't happen. The league can issue a statement tomorrow saying the ball was off them, but who [cares]? We lost."

Whether he believed it was all on him or was simply taking the blame for the sake of his teammates, Paul indeed played a part in the Clippers' collapse. Los Angeles led by two when Paul took an inbound pass and, instead of dribbling the clock out, got caught in the air before turning the ball over. Jackson picked up the loose ball and careened into Barnes -- referees ruled the ball off Barnes, inciting Rivers' postgame fury.

All that set up a Russell Westbrook three-point attempt with seconds left. After Paul was called for hitting Westbrook's shooting arm, the Thunder guard nailed three free throws before Paul again lost the ball on Los Angeles' final play, which in itself could have been a controversy.

Nonetheless, Paul wasn't placing blame on anyone but himself.

"It's me. Everything that happened there at the end is on me," Paul said. "The turnover with 17 seconds left, assuming they were going to foul was the dumbest play I've ever made. To even put it in the official's hand to call a foul on a 3 ... it's just bad basketball.

...

"I pride myself on taking care of the ball and managing games towards the end. None of the guys on the team could have done anything about it. It was just me. ... We shouldn't have been in that situation. That's on me."

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