Recap: Game. Set. Blouses, Clippers advance to Round 2


In one of the best playoff games in league history, the Los Angeles Clippers defeat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of their first round series 111-109 to advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Kicking off with drama as Chris Paul exited the game late in the first quarter behind a spur-of-the-moment hamstring injury, at display was two heavy weight fighters going punch for punch to see who’d buckle first.

Because of Paul’s injury, the Clippers looked to be that team but shot making from Jamal Crawford kept the Clippers into the game.

With Paul returning in the second quarter, the beginning of what would become one of the best games by a point guard ever would begin. It was obvious Paul was hampered by the hamstring. On offense, Paul struggled early in the pick-and-roll. On defense, he struggled chasing Tony Parker and company through screens, but he didn’t let that hold him back from being there for his teammates when they needed him.

“He’s just a tough kid. That’s it. Tough,” said Doc Rivers of Chris Paul returning from injury to help will his team to victory. “He’s street fighter. I mean he really is. I love him to death because of his will.”

The back and forth between the two teams would continue into the fourth quarter. As Chris Paul fought to keep his team into it (18 points in the second half), this game grew closer and closer into ‘classic’ territory.

  • 2:12 – Matt Barnes knocks down a three-pointer at the top of the key to tie the game 105-105.
  • 1:23 – Thanks to numerous offensive rebounds by the Spurs (DeAndre Jordan sat on the bench during the final stretch), a layup by Tony Parker gave the Spurs a two-point lead, 107-105.
  • 1:10 – In one of the few moments where he didn’t settle for a jump shot in the pick-and-roll, Jamal Crawford’s nifty layup ties the game 107-107.
  • 0:13 – Following missed shots from Kawhi Leonard and Blake Griffin, an offensive rebound from Matt Barnes allows the Clippers to call a timeout. On the following possession, Tim Duncan sends Chris PAul to the line on a shooting foul — Paul knocked down both to go up 109-107.
  • 0:08 – Seconds later, the same would happen with San Antonio as a J.J. Redick shooting foul sent Tim Duncan to the free-throw line — Duncan’s two makes tied the game up 109-109.

From here, everyone knew where the ball would go — to Chris Paul. It was just a matter of Paul doing what many believe he was uncapable of despite evidence greatly disagreeing with such: winning the game for his team. Because of the hamstring, Paul lacked his usual speed but this didn’t stop Doc Rivers from going with the usual pick-and-roll at the top of the key, a play the Spurs have struggled to stop all series.

No one knows how Paul made the play, getting by Danny Green and flipping the shot high enough to escape Tim Duncan’s reach. But the “Point God” pulled it, the biggest shot of his career and in Clippers franchise history, off, regardless of it happening in Round 1 of the playoffs. The opponent was bigger than that. These were the same defending NBA champions who dismantled the Miami Heat just a year before. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tiago Splitter didn’t look like much of their regular selves throughout the series, but Kawhi Leonard’s leap into bonafide stardom plus heavy contributions from role players in Patrick Mills and Boris Diaw made up for it.

While Chris will receive the bulk of the credit for how this game went down as this will be remembered as his “Isiah Thomas ankle injury game”, this was a peak Clippers performance from top to bottom and it couldn’t have come at the right time — Jamal Crawford’s early first quarter shots and late, Blake Griffin’s silent 24-13-10 triple double, and Glen Davis six points and solid rebounding on a bum foot, and J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes finally connecting from outside. It was the perfect performance from a team who so desperately needed to get over the hump.

Unfortunately, there won’t be time for this group to bask in their victory as the Clippers have to turn their sights to an underrated Houston Rockets team as Game 1 takes place Monday. Hopefully the team — and especially Chris Paul in regards to health — is ready for another close series.