May 15, 2012; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) is defended by San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (left) and forward Boris Diaw (behind) during the second half in game one of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the AT

San Antonio Spurs Los Angeles Clippers Preview Game 2

It will be difficult for the Clippers to extend this series by winning Game 2. They will have a much better shot at winning their home games, when it is not in a hostile environment. In road games this post-season, the answer to the Clippers being in close games was a short and simple one: Chris Paul.

In this series though, Vinny Del Negro is meeting the roadblock of his former coach Gregg Popovich, who came out in game 1 with the game-plan of double-teaming Chris Paul in the pick and roll and forcing someone else to score and distribute the ball.

Eric Bledsoe responded by having his most complete game as a pro, and kept the Clippers close through the 2nd and 3rd quarter, but enormously efficient shooting and Tim Duncan’s overall excellence buried the Clippers. Duncan looked unrecognizable from the slow and hobbly Tim Duncan from last year; he looked more like rookie year Tim Duncan. He was carving up the paint with bank shots, jumpers, cuts to the lane, and pin-point passing. Duncan is probably the main reason the Clippers will have great difficulty keeping the Spurs offense from getting whatever they want on offense.

For the Clippers to win, they will need outstanding production on offense and defense from two different sources, their bench and their bigs. The Spurs consistently forced the Clippers to rely on their 3rd and 4th options for scoring, often forcing Kenyon Martin into tough shots or Mo Williams for a contested jumper. They will need their bench to come up huge, and their bigs to play much better interior and perimeter defense for the Clippers to have a chance of knotting up this series.

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