Game one of the Western Conference semifinals was a tough game for the underdog Clippers who struggled to stop the Spurs in the paint and at the three-point line.
Through out the game, the Clippers could not match up with the speed of the Spurs in transition on the court or control the pace of the game with 15 turnovers.
“We weren’t able to slow them down,” said Clippers Head Coach Vinny Del Negro. ”I thought the tempo was in their favor a lot.”
Down low in the post, Griffin and Jordan could not eliminate the efforts of Spurs Tim Duncan from taking it to the paint and scoring. Majority of the Spurs points came from scoring in the paint and he made it look easy.
Despite the difficulty of shutting down Duncan, the Clippers had some incredible steals and blocks that opened up breakaways and allowed them to score on the other end of the court. Including a couple of slam dunks by Griffin and Jordan.
Eric Bledsoe scored his playoff career high with 23 points shooting 10 for 16 from the floor along with three steals and four assists. Griffin had 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks with Nick Young shooting 3-3 from the three point line.
It has been talked about that the Clippers may never make it to first round or even the second round of playoffs due to being a very young and inexperienced team.
Winning the first round against the powerful Memphis Grizzlies in seven games was just a sample of what they were going to face next.
By having Chris Paul, a great team leader and observer of the court who executes and sets his teammates up to score shows strong leadership on the court.
Clippers are a great team and work well together, they need to find ground where they can control the game in their favor and have strong defense.
One way they can do that is by shifting faster on defense. They tend to get clogged on one side of the court, leaving the other side open where Spurs guard Gerald Green is waiting to take the open shot. If they can do that, they can limit their three-pointers and pressure them to pass down low.
Once they pass it to the post, this is where the bigs, Griffin and Jordan need to pay attention where players are positioned because this is how Duncan scored on them.
The bigs can’t allow Ducan to keep scoring so as long as they shift over quickly and transition they should be good for the next game.
The Clippers are a young team, but they have the potential of becoming a great power in the NBA.