Another double-digit win for the San Antonio Spurs and the win streak continues. The Spurs showed that the extra rest was worth it as they piled it on the Los Angeles Clippers late in the game on their way to a 108-92 win to take the first game in the playoff semi finals series.
The Spurs didn’t look rusty to me at all. They scored 29 points in the first quarter and the offense was firing on all cylinders. They lacked a little bit of focus on the defensive end, and maybe that can be attributed to their 8 days off, but all-in-all I’d say the mini vacation was worth it.
What went right for the Spurs?
I said in my series preview that I thought Tim Duncan was going to have a great series, and he proved me right in Game 1. Duncan showed why he’s headed to the hall of fame and Blake Griffin is still just a developing young player. Duncan put in 26 points and added 10 rebounds. He shot 12 of 20 from the floor and seemed to get his way on the offensive end. He also threw in 2 blocks and 2 steals. The Clippers aren’t going to have an answer for Tim Duncan. Griffin, Reggie Evans and DeAndre Jordan all have defensive weaknesses that Duncan will be able to exploit at will.
It also didn’t hurt that it was raining 3’s in San Antonio last night. The Spurs shot 13-25 from behind the arc and it was just a dagger in the side of the Clippers every time they buried one. Normally, you say don’t live by the 3-pointer, but in the Spurs’ case, their shots from long distance came from such excellent ball movement, that they were getting open looks whenever they wanted. The Spurs passed the ball so well last night, it must have been incredibly frustrating for a worn out Clippers squad.
Rebounding was huge last night as well. After a tough series with the Utah big men, the Spurs outrebounded the Clippers 47-34. They were also able to grab 11 offensive rebounds, again, probably because the Clippers were too tired to focus on boxing out.
The Spurs also locked down Chris Paul. This was another thing I said was going to be important in my series preview. Definitely a no-brainer, but just because you know something needs to be done, doesn’t mean it will get done. Paul was 3-13 from the floor and just looked frustrated all night because he couldn’t get anything going. Even though he had 10 assists, it seemed like he couldn’t ever get control of his team’s offense. Tony Parker struggled as well, but if the Spurs had the option of taking both of those guys out of the game, they’d take it every single time because they have other guys capable of creating shots, the Clippers really don’t.
What went wrong for the Spurs?
There were stretches in the 3rd and 4th quarters where it looked like the Clippers might find their way back into the game. The Spurs were turning the ball over and no one could stop Caron Butler or Eric Bledsoe. Against the Clippers you have to be very careful about letting someone get hot. They have a lot of shooters on their team, and they’re very streaky. If someone starts knocking down a couple 3’s you can bet more are going to follow. The Spurs will have to keep an eye on that as the series continues. You definitely don’t want to let one or two guys beat you.
Of course, now that I look at it, this could have all been some diabolical plan by Coach Gregg Popovich to let the Clippers stay in the game so the starters wouldn’t rest and they’d get even more run down for the rest of the series. Conspiracy theory?
Aside from some careless play late in the game and a slow start on the defensive end, I really can’t find much wrong with the Spurs’ performance in Game 1. It’s unfortunate for the Clippers that they really won’t get any rest or recovery time until the series is over, but luckily for them, that’s probably only in 3 or 4 more games.