Los Angeles Clippers
San Antonio Spurs
MVP: Tonight, I’m going with DeAndre Jordan. He didn’t have the most impressive counting numbers, though I’m sure you’ll take 15 points on five shots any night, along with 14 rebounds and three blocks. But Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich got a little too comfortable with a ten-point second quarter lead and decided to hack away at Jordan. It’s hard to believe that it was Jordan’s poor foul shooting that helped the Clippers get back in this game, but believe it. The Clippers tied this game at halftime and never trailed in the second half.
That was … survival: This game was all kinds of grungy for the Clip Show. Chris Paul was 0-for-7 from the field in the first half. The Clippers followed up a 1-for-14 three-point shooting performance in Game 5 by missing their first eight threes in Game 6. Boris Diaw outscored the Clippers bench by himself 17-15 … and Marco Belinelli led all bench scorers with 23 points, including seven made threes. But Jordan and J.J. Redick kept the Clippers in the game in the first half, scoring a combined 29 of L.A.’s 51 points. Then Paul and Blake Griffin took the baton from there, scoring 33 of L.A.’s 51 second-half points. Combine all of that with Matt Barnes’ shooting (2-of-2 threes, 3-of-3 overall field goals) and defensive effort (Kawhi Leonard: 3-of-15 field goals, four turnovers), and the starting lineup had a wholly positive night in Texas.
X factor: Untimely mistakes have marred Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s postseason experiences as Clippers. But with the season on the line, the L.A. All-Stars were extraordinarily efficient. Los Angeles won the turnover battle with San Antonio tonight 10-13. But simply look at Paul and Griffin to appreciate the blend of playmaking and ball control – the two combined for 21 assists and only one turnover in Game 6.
— Law Murray
Tweet(s) Of The Game
How many of yall would have rather watched DeAndre Jordan get fouled repeatedly rather than watch these last 18 min of basketball?
— Amin Elhassan (@AminESPN) May 1, 2015
Blake Griffin has shown some flaws in this series. Lack of effort isn't 1 of them
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) May 1, 2015
#Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich not mincing words: “We were just soft….We should be embarrassed by how we came out for a closeout game.”
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 1, 2015
"Doc, you were the worst GM of any contender this season, was it your plan to show off all of those sad moves in the first quarter tonight?"
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 1, 2015
Different Clippers team tonight. Kept their heads down, played hoops, didn't let refs get to them. Never too late to change dumb habits.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 1, 2015
Check Your Messages
808s and Chris Paul, not so fast
We are so used to Chris Paul, clutching exasperatedly at the air as time slips away on him, another season sliding away before his eyes, bemoaning another wasted year in perhaps our generation’s greatest point guard. When he isn’t screaming and purposely running in front of clueless big men in transition, Paul is a sight to behold.
Late in the fourth quarter, CP3 snatched the ball out of midair, twisted his body forward nearly parallel to the ground, and jetted as fast as a wide receiver at the NFL Combine. Behind him, Tim Duncan debated with himself whether to foul DeAndre Jordan, but with 4 already in his pocket, he hesitated. Kawhi Leonard seemed to pause for a second, waiting for Duncan, and that was all Paul needed. He flew between them, went right at Danny Green, drew another defender, and dished a no-look dimer, a controlled piece of passing necessary after we saw the ball vanish in his hip pocket.
Blake Griffin would lay it in, Hack-A-Jordan crisis averted, and Paul on his way to another epic playoff performance. Maybe he won’t win a title in his career. maybe he will never get out of second round. Hell, Paul might not make it past this round. But make no mistake, Chris Paul has nothing to do with those arbitrary endpoints. Man alive, is he awesome.
– Andy Liu
I’m still not sure how he does it, but through some incredible combination of crafty positioning, brilliant anticipation, long arms, and dad strength Tim Duncan, the one-legged wonder, the man who time forgot, the guy who took the fun out of fundamental, manages with regularity to get offensive rebounds over, around, and through season-long rebound leader DeAndre Jordan. He recorded three of his own, and also managed to tip the ball and bully various Clipper players around the box, a huge contributing factor in the nine offensive boards recorded by other Spurs. It proved to be a powerful weapon for them in the early part of the game.
However, as the game went on the Clippers finally locked down and boxed out. Whether the secret was digging deeper and fighting harder or just paying more attention, the Clippers allowed only three offensive rebounds after the 5:30 mark in the second quarter. They had allowed nine up to that point. It was part of a noticeable focus on hustle plays, and it seemed to pay dividends for the Clippers tonight. Sometimes that little bit of focus makes a lot of difference.
– Ben Mesirow