Clippers-Rockets Game 2 Preview: What We’ve Learned So Far

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May 4, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) boxes out Houston Rockets forward Josh Smith (5) in the second quarter in game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The fact that the Los Angeles Clippers were missing Chris Paul in game one against the Houston Rockets wasn’t an issue. It should have been a serious one, but with a Blake Griffin triple double and everyone on the team stepping up with their own strengths, L.A. came out with a 117-101 win.

As we approach game two tonight, there’s a few key things that we can take away from series opener.

Even though James Harden and company won’t go down that easily every night, it’s still clear just how formidable the Clippers can be behind the leadership of Griffin. He ran their offense all night long, and his 26 point, 14 rebound, 13 assist performance was his third triple double of this year’s playoffs alone. And with the way he’s played so far, it looks like he’ll be a triple double threat every night.

The Clippers may have suffered the dilemma of trying to replace Chris Paul, but with Austin Rivers putting in another solid performance and Jamal Crawford coming up with 21 points off the bench, they still managed to outscore one of the league’s top offenses with ease. Not to mention, the Clippers even dropped 71 points in the second half alone.

They outscored the Rockets by 20 points in the final two quarters, and finished the night on 48.8 percent shooting, including 41.9 percent from three point range.

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The Clippers’ 21 turnovers were the biggest problem in game one, and as long as they are able to lock in throughout game two — and potentially have Chris Paul to take care of the ball again — it shouldn’t be a recurring problem.

Sloppiness aside (where the Rockets were even worse with 23 turnovers), the Clippers out-performed their opponents in nearly every facet of the game. They shot better from the field, shot 8.6 percent better from beyond the arc (including a playoff record 11 second half three pointers), out-rebounded them 42-35 and even held Harden to a modest 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting.

So as we head into game two tonight, here are the five key things we learned from game one that gave us some indication of what to look out for during this series.

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