Home court advantage: Spurs

Blake Griffin has his shot blocked by the spurs' Tim Duncan as time winds down in the fourth quarter in Game 5 at Staples Center. Photo Credit: Tiffany Zablosky/News4usonline.com
Blake Griffin has his shot blocked by the spurs' Tim Duncan as time winds down in the fourth quarter in Game 5 at Staples Center. Photo Credit: Tiffany Zablosky/News4usonline.com
Blake Griffin has his shot blocked by the spurs’ Tim Duncan as time winds down in the fourth quarter in Game 5 at Staples Center. Photo Credit: Tiffany Zablosky/News4usonline.com

LOS ANGELES-That momentous win the Los Angeles Clippers had over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of their first round, NBA Western Conference playoff series on Sunday is now somewhere placed in the team’s hip pocket as a result of what took place in Game 5.

What happened in Game 5 also took place in Game 2: The Clippers failed to close out the fourth quarter on a high note and lost to the Spurs by the score of 111-107. Same place, same time and same results.

Defense. Aggressive play. Rebounding. Free throw shooting. Timely shooting. Simple elements to winning  a basketball game, and a much required recipe to succeeding in the postseason . The Los Angeles Clippers applied these actions against the San Antonio Spurs in splitting the first round Western Conference series against the world champions at 2-2 through the team’s first four games.

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DeAndre Jordan is called for interference with seconds remaining in Game 5 of the Los Angeles Clippers’ matchup with the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs defeated the Clippers 111-101 at Staples Center. Photo Credit: Tiffany Zablosky/News4usonline.com

In Game 5, the Clippers tried to make it  a track meet in the first quarter when they jumped out to a 14-point lead, before slowing down and getting stuck in the mud in the second period when the Spurs tried to slow the game down by intentionally fouling DeAndre Jordan. Like Game 2, the outcome of the game came down to the wire, and the Clippers simply could not close the deal against te Spurs, which now has the opportunity to take of business and eliminate their Western Conference rivals in Game 6.

So much for the home court advantage. The Spurs has now beaten the Clippers twice on their home floor. So after coming up with a big performance on the road in Game 4 where they re-took home court advantage, the Clippers are now left with the prospect of having to win the last two games of the series  against the Spurs-one on the road and the other, if possible, at home.

Good night, and good luck.

It is unusual that a team can give up 111 points, and expect to win a playoff game. The Clippers didn’t get it done on the defensive front. Doc Rivers’ team also connected on just 26 of 42 free throws for the game. Well, that is the ballgame in a nutshell. Missing 16 free throws can absolutely count against you in the postseason. And that’s what happened as the Clippers shot just 61 percent from the free throw line.

The timely shooting aspect the Clippers’ game went out the window as Los Angeles went stone cold in 3-point shooting, connecting on only one of 14 shots from long distance.

Tim Duncan on his way to scoring two of his 21 points against the Clippers in Game 5. Photo Credit: Tiffany Zablosky/News4usonline.com
Tim Duncan on his way to scoring two of his 21 points against the Clippers in Game 5. Photo Credit: Tiffany Zablosky/News4usonline.com

The Clippers dropped the playbook to turn back the clock a bit in the first quarter as “Lob City” was in full go mode. Chris Paul dish to a sprinting Blake Griffin heading towards the basket in full locomotive steam for a spectacular flush with  5:18 left in the period got the crowd revved up.  Paul then got Jordan on the act as he fed his center with a nice lob that Jordan rocked  and threw down with mean intentions.

Everything looked to be all good for the  Clippers with 1: 30 left in the period as staked out a 14-point lead and looked like they wanted to run the Spurs out of Staples Center. The Spurs, however, didn’t get the memo, and managed to shale off the Clippers early barrage to go on a 15-0 run of their own to take a 28-27 lead early in the second quarter.

But with Griffin dominating the paint with 21 points and nine rebounds through the first two quarters, the Clippers were able to walk into halftime with a 54-53 lead after having their transition game turn into a plodding, stalemated offense. The third period was even worst as the Spurs played the hack-a-Shaq game with Jordan as they regained the lead for a short period. The Clippers answered the bell after Jordan sat down with a little mote than three minutes to play in the period as closed the period knotted up with the Spurs at 82-82.

 

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1105 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.