Tony Parker’s transition to the other side of 30 could not have gone any better. Parker scored 22 points, Tim Duncan chipped in 18 points and 5 rebounds, and the Spurs defense held the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin combo to only 30 points to help the Spurs take a 2-0 series lead on the Los Angeles Clippers.
Chris Paul was clearly hampered by his hip and groin injuries and was unable to contribute much in the 1st half before turning it on a bit more in the 2nd half. The Clippers gave another high energy effort, but their offensive execution pales in comparison to the all around ball movement by the Spurs.
The Spurs move the ball in the half-court better than any team in the NBA, penetrating and then swinging the ball all the way around the court for open 3-pointers all day. They methodically build leads on opposing teams with solid defense and a surgical offense. They have won 16 straight games dating back to the regular season, and at this point, the Clippers will be lucky to get a win at home, much less actually win this series. If they were at full strength it might be another story, but to be battling the injuries(Griffin, Paul, Butler, Mo Williams, Nick Young, and Eric Bledsoe), while also trying to out execute one of the best execution teams in the NBA is a tall order.
And this is all before you mention the coaching batttle; and calling it a coaching battle is a bit of a joke. Gregg Popovich will go down as possibly the 3rd greatest coach in NBA history after Red Aeurbach and Phil Jackson; if the Spurs win it all this year, Popovich will be tied with Pat Riley for 3rd on the coaches-with-the-most-championships at 5. Vinny Del Negro never really stood a chance in this match-up, and combined with all the other obstacles the Clippers are facing, it could end up being the nail in the coffin of the Clippers’ post-season run.