Spurs Crush Clippers In Game 3: The 5 Things We Learned

4 of 6

It doesn’t matter which Spur leads the charge

Apr 24, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs players (from left to right) Kawhi Leonard, and Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili watch on the bench against the Los Angeles Clippers in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

As this series has progressed, the key factor that separates the Clippers and Spurs has become crystal clear; San Antonio don’t rely on stars.

Yes, they have their Big 3 of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and now Kawhi Leonard, but they don’t survive on star power like L.A.

If you want to read my column on the Spurs’ interchangeable stars and why it’s been the primary reason for their success for so many years, you can read it in full here. But if you want a quicker take on what we’ve seen from this series alone, then here’s a taster:

"The point is that it doesn’t even matter who steps up for the Spurs. They have so many interchangeable players, who offer so much value in different nuances of the game, that their so called “star player” changes on a nightly basis. In game two, it was none other than Patty Mills who made two of the biggest free throws of his life with just 8.6 seconds left, in order to send the game to overtime. Then, when that extra period came, it was the legend himself, Tim Duncan, who rose to the occasion and continued to showcase his artistry in the post to give San Antonio the points they so desperately needed. And last night, in one of the Spurs’ most utterly dominating performances of the entire year, Leonard broke out as an offensive force at a level we’ve never seen before. And that’s just this series. There’s countless instances over the years where any single player on the team has risen to the task and offered their specific skill set when needed. Whether it’s Duncan scoring 28, Mills hitting a couple of free throws, Manu making a ridiculous pass or Green hitting seven three-pointers, everyone is fundamental to the team’s success."

This has allowed the Spurs to become one of the greatest franchises in NBA history, and if their depth and lack of emphasis on star power continues (which it will), the Clippers’ elite starting five need to take their offense to a whole new level. If they return to the form they found in game one — or anything close to it — they can make tonight a far closer contest.