Clippers-Spurs Game 1 Recap: Perfection


The odds couldn’t have predicted this. A win at home in the opening game of the playoffs? Sure. But outright dominance that included the Clippers’ Big 3 at the peak of their powers? Only the biggest of stans could have predicted that one.

But it happened and it was glorious as the Los Angeles Clippers ran away with Game 1 over the San Antonio Spurs, 107-92.

On defense, DeAndre Jordan looked like the Defensive Player of the Year, deterring any and every attempt at the rim the Spurs offered. Given the Spurs lack athleticism on the wing and in the frontcourt,

On offense, Blake Griffin looked like the Blake Griffin your favorite television analysts want him to be on a nightly basis, controlling the game in the paint as a scorer.

And on both ends of the floor? Chris Paul flashed the brilliance of a younger CP3, pre-meniscus, where he controlled the game as a playmaker, scorer, defender, etc.

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  • To kick the game off, the Clippers, riding the momentum of the playoff crowd, jumped out to a 20-10 lead.

    And like always, the second quarter began with the Clippers losing their lead as the 5-man bench unit was unable to compete with the Spurs — Rivers would stray away from this look for the rest of the game. With Rivers pulling majority of the bench following the Spurs going up 37-35 behind a Duncan layup, the Clippers found their rhythm again, re-gaining the lead and pushing it to 45-39. Then hack-and-Jordan happened as Pop attempted to slow things down, ultimately having little effect on the score as the Clippers went into the half up 49-43.

    In the third quarter is where things become to fall in line for the Clippers as the team put together their best quarter of the season — on offense, Blake Griffin, dunks and all, and Chris Paul scored 22 of the teams 30 points; on defense, the Clippers forced the Spurs to shoot 31% en route to 21 points.

    But it was how it happened, rather than the actual statistics. The dunks from Griffin over Baynes fed the crowd to create a hectic environment many likely wouldn’t have expected, weeks after Griffin criticized the same group for their lack of fandom.

    By the fourth, the Clippers were playing to not lose, holding off the expected attempt at a comeback by the Spurs.

    Helping lead the Clippers to victory, Chris Paul finished with a game-high 32 points on 13-of-20 shooting, as well as 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. His partner-in-crime in Griffin, who was unstoppable for most of the night, wasn’t too far behind CP3 in terms of dominance, finishing with 26 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks, becoming the first player since Tim Duncan in 2003 to post those numbers in a playoff game.

    On the other side, Kawhi Leonard finished with a team-high 18 points. Outside of Leonard (and Marco Bellinelli), the Spurs generally struggled, with key perimeter players in Tony Parker, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili shooting a combined 9-of-32 from the field for a combined 26 points.

    If the law of averages mean anything to you, what happened tonight won’t happen again. It was too perfect. Danny Green isn’t going to 1-of-7 from three, with many of the missed attempts being open shots. The same applies with Boris Diaw (2-of-12 from the field) who the Clippers ‘forced’ to be a scorer instead of allowing him to attack via playmaking.

    And on the Clippers end, there’ll be a night where Jordan’s rotations and block attempts aren’t as sharp. Or Chris Paul’s mid-range shot isn’t falling. Or Aron Baynes isn’t the only person contesting Griffin and company at the rim.

    But the first step in winning a seven-game series against a juggernaut has been taken. A comforting number going forward? 86% of first round series are won by the team who takes home Game 1.

    Take that for what it’s worth.

    [Next Game]

    Game 2
    Spurs (0-1) @ Clippers (1-0)
    Wednesday, April 22nd 10:30 p.m. EST/7:30 p.m. PT