Game 4 Recap: Clippers bounce back from blowout, tie series 2-2


A big knock on the Clippers was the inability to grind out when their backs were against the wall. After letting Game 2 slip from their hands in the last minutes and taking in a blowout at the hands of Kawhi Leonard in Game 3, the Clippers were in danger of allowing the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs take a 3-1 lead.

Instead — thanks to a helping hand of “Playoffs Austin Rivers” — the Clippers, lead by Chris Paul, defeated the San Antonio Spurs 114-105 to even the first-round series 2-2.

It wasn’t easy, but the Clippers pulled it off.

Like Game 1, it came down to the job being done in the fourth quarter. Unlike Game 2, the Clippers got the job done thanks.

In the fourth quarter, with little help from DeAndre Jordan woh sat on the bench majority of the quarter, split brilliance from Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford (19 points combined the quarter) and a shake of Austin Rivers (5 points) was enough to hold off on the lead as Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan (18 points in the quarter) did their damnedest to comeback.

“This was a total team effort,” said Chris Paul — who finished 34 points, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds — immediately after the game. “The game ball goes to Austin Rivers. This was his first playoffs. What he did, he really just motivated the team. It was a hell of a game by Austin.”

The Clippers can’t account for Austin Rivers to do what he did tonight in future games, even if the point guard has been solid through four games (a little nugget seen on Twitter, Rivers has outscored Matt Barnes, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green this series), but the production was welcome, timely, and needed. “He had this way tonight,” said Tony Parker of the heavily scrutinized point guard.

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  • Not only Rivers, the Clippers’ bench — or those who played — did a solid job as Crawford’s offense (15 points, 3 assists) and Glen Davis‘ defense, especially on Tim Duncan late in the game while Jordan sat on the bench. This is what the Clippers need on the bench on a nightly basis. Will it happen? Unsure, but this template is ideal for a Clippers team who wants to win a championship, and firstly, defeat the Spurs.

    Alongside Rivers, Crawford, and Paul, Blake Griffin continued his brilliance, scoring 20 points, grabbing 19 rebounds and dishing 7 assists, becoming the first player to do so since LeBron James did it against the Indiana Pacers in 2012.

    Starting guard J.J. Redick also had his best game of the series with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including a late-game three-dagger in the fourth.

    For the San Antonio Spurs, they were again led by Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan who finished 48 points, 21 rebounds and 8 assists combined. Guard Danny Green finished the game with 0 points on 0-of-6 shooting from the field.

    With the series tied 2-2 and the game returning to Los Angeles, the task is simple: in at home and go into San Antonio up, instead of the opposite.

    “That’s a death wish to come back here down 3-2,” said J.J. Redick, “for a closeout game in San Antonio.”