Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Blake Griffin is just putting triple-doubles together in the playoffs like it is the expectation. Griffin had a game-high 26 points, a game-high 14 rebounds, and a game-high 13 assists. It was a blast from 2013-2014, when he carried the Clippers for a major stretch of the season.
That was … eye-opening: Seriously, did you people completely forget about 2013-2014?? The Clippers are used to playing without their studs (except for DeAndre Jordan). Yes, CP3 played in the first 89 games of the season for the Clippers. But in 2013-2014, Paul missed 20 games. Did the Clippers panic without him? No! They went 13-7 with Paul out of the lineup, and still had the NBA’s highest offensive rating that season! The Rockets led most of the first half, but Los Angeles hung tight. In the second half, the Clippers scored 71 points. On the road. In the playoffs. Against a rested Rockets team that was a top-ten defense this season. #WithoutCP3.
X factor: Jamal Crawford had six of L.A.’s 21 turnovers tonight. But the 35-year-old super sub did his thing off the bench yet again, scoring 21 points in 32 minutes. It’s safe to say that his calf issues from March are just a memory to file away for future reference. He’s back to hitting threes and the rest of the thrilling arsenal Crawford provides off the bench.
— Law Murray
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Why are people picking the Clippers? Did beating the Spurs give them a bench?
— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) May 5, 2015
"Blake Griffin can't create his own shot." -Barkley "I agree" -Shaq pic.twitter.com/kwYPfs9oHJ
— Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) May 5, 2015
Triple-doubles this postseason: Blake Griffin 3 Rest of NBA 0 pic.twitter.com/9vyWguCtAB
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 5, 2015
This didn't count, but, Blake Griffin wut? https://t.co/0Bv0sWWVaW
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) May 5, 2015
Yall put too many extras on the Austin Rivers hate. Bruh barely old enough to drink hennessey or shoot dice in Vegas
— JerseyChaser (@jerseychaser) May 5, 2015
This game is like one of those lesser known Dr. Seuss books that veers off from silly and surreal into just weird.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 5, 2015
Doc Rivers' troll game http://t.co/pSGajAofsd
— SportsNation (@SportsNation) May 5, 2015
Check Your Messages
Playoff Blake Griffin isn’t different in talent or intelligence. He is changed in style, though. All year, it’s made some amount of sense to try the Clippers’ second-best facilitator at the point when Chris Paul was out of the game. But Paul played 82 games, Doc Rivers didn’t stagger his rotations much throughout the season, and the Clippers relied on conventionally below-average backup point guards.
But desperation often breeds innovation.
Finally, we got to see Griffin play like a legitimate point forward in the second half…and it was brilliant. It’s completely legitimate to say Anthony Davis is the best or the most talented power forward in the NBA, but there isn’t another big man in the NBA who could step out on a basketball court today and fill the role Griffin did. No one.
He’s a special player. It’s nice that casual fans are starting to see on a national stage what Clippers fans have witnessed in parts for the past couple of years.
– Fred Katz
Five games into the first round, it looked like the lack of shooting would be the demise of yet another Chris Paul-lead playoff team.
One game into the second, and it appears that they can shoot the lights out even without him.
J.J. Redick might lack the transcendent floor game that Chris Paul possesses, but his perpetual motion ran Rockets defenders ragged by the midpoint of the third quarter. Matt Barnes is far from the multi-faceted forward that Blake Griffin has reintroduced us to thus far in this postseason, but he uses his football pedigree so well in reading where on the floor he needs to be in relation to the ball handler. Together, the two of them play off of the Clippers’ stars in such a complimentary way that it’s hard to fathom what the DNA of this team would look like without them.
It certainly helps that the wing tandem both averaged career highs in three-point shooting percentage this season, and with the Houston defense collapsing so heavily onto Blake all night, the pair found plenty of space to light up the Rockets from distance.
None of this is exactly new information to those who have been watching the Clippers all season. What it does remind us, however, is that even down a Point God, the rest of this starting roster is still really, really good.
– Brandon Tomyoy
Reopen the Bank!
With time winding down in the third quarter, the Clippers were holding onto an unlikely one-point advantage with a shot to extend the lead. The ball was in the hands of Jamal Crawford and you just knew he was going to shoot it. Isolated at the top he put on the moves that we’ve become so accustomed to seeing: a dribble between his legs, then one behind the back into a standard crossover – right to left – lulling James Harden back and forth (who played surprisingly good defense on this possession). Crawford then rose up — a hand in his grill — arching his back and banking in a filthy jumper from 25-feet to give the Clippers a four point lead.
In a game full of nastiness this was a thing of beauty.
Re-introducing the former Sixth Man of the Year, a man you may know as J-Crossover in a performance that was equal parts maddening and classic Crawford. His first half was rough, throwing away the ball six times in total, leading to a raft of Rocket fast break points. But, without CP3 there to take the reigns, the Clippers had to ride with their streaky scorer. His second half was better (partially because Griffin was giving the point guard duties) — he just kept shooting and managed to bail out the Clippers on multiple occasions (including the example above) as well as a huge corner 3 to give the Clippers an 11-point edge with a few minutes to go.
After missing 17 games with a leg injury, Crawford has struggled to find his groove again — he shot just a hair over 38% in the first round against the Spurs. Tonight was his first 20+ point outburst since February 25, which also came against the Rockets.
– Roscoe Whalan
Latest posts by Law Murray (see all)
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- February 15, 2017: Hawks 84, Clippers 99 – February 17, 2017