Clippers Dominate Spurs 107-92: The 5 Things We Learned

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The pick-and-roll was just too easy

Apr 19, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) saves a ball from going out of bounds during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs in game one of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Paul didn’t receive as much attention as Griffin last night, but he operated the Clippers’ offense as effectively as possible. He recorded 32 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and shot 13-of-20 from the floor.

Speaking of his shooting, Paul’s actually been playing at the most efficient level of his career from mid-range this season. He’s shot career bests from 10-16 feet out (51.9 percent) and from over 16 feet out (48.7 percent). And if that wasn’t enough, his 39.8 percent mark from three-point range this year is the second best of his ten year career.

Thankfully for the Clippers, Paul continued his hot shooting into last night.

He was easily able to get to the rim at times, making Boris Diaw look helpless on the perimeter and even blowing past Kawhi Leonard at one point to finish with a reverse layup.

From further out, he was just as good. He cut back on fast breaks to pull up from the elbow and even knocked down a couple of threes in transition.

CP3 didn’t look remotely intimidated to be playing against the defending champions and he remained poised all night. In particular, his execution of the pick-and-roll with Griffin showed how much of a threat it will be to the Spurs throughout this series. They both proved to be far too capable as ball handlers and facilitators for San Antonio’s defense to slow them down, and it ruined Aron Baynes’ night, to say the least.

The pick-and-roll killed Pop’s defense. Primarily, because of Paul’s quickness on one side and the danger of Griffin exploding to the rim on the other. They were even able to execute Griffin’s best dunk over Baynes with a fake pick, where Blake opted to keep the ball and spin to the basket instead.

Per stats, Paul ran 29 ball screens last night, which rewarded the Clippers with 35 points. On the other end, Paul defended 31 screens, and the Spurs wound up with just 12 points.

If CP3 keeps playing close to that level, San Antonio have a lot to worry about.