The Los Angeles Clippers came running out of the gates, and ended up building their largest lead of the series(24) in the second quarter, but the Spurs haven’t lost a game since early April and they were not about to give this one up. The Spurs struggled shooting in the ball in the first and second period; it will be interesting for these Spurs if “live by the three, die by the three” becomes a headline in any of their future playoff losses. They did not lose their composure; however, and the Spurs actually looked calm and relaxed down by ten on the bench before the 3rd quarter resumed, and the Spurs responded.
“We did not plan on being down that much in the first quarter, but we understood that they were going to make a run early, and we needed to sustain. We’ve been through enough of them to understand that’s how it goes. It was great poise by our entire team.” said Spurs forward Tim Duncan
They dominated the 3rd quarter with a 26 to 8 differential, and a 24 to 0 run at one point. Blake Griffin did his best in this one; he scored 28 points, and added 16 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 blocked shots. This was an inspired effort after he managed only 1 rebound in a game earlier in the series. Chris Paul, on the other hand, is clearly not healthy. His shooting percentages and averages are all down significantly from the regular season, and he is giving everything he has left in the tank. He simply needs the off-season to heal.
Vinny Del Negro was out-coached in this one, when he left Reggie Evans and DeAndre Jordan in the game even after Popovich had already ordered two straight intentional fouls on Evans. It squashed any hope of a comeback, and has now put the Los Angeles Clippers on the brink of a sweep.