Clippers on the Brink of No Return

Blake Griffin (white) is playing stellar basketball against the San Antonio Spurs for the Los Angeles Clippers. Photo: Sterling Cross, courtesy of Inland Valley News

Los Angeles-The Los Angeles Clippers appeared to be wide awake and the Spurs seemed to be asleep during the first quarter of their NBA Western Conference semifinals playoff game at Staples Center.

The Clippers started the game off with a stellar performance to end the first quarter. They led the Spurs by 23 points. That’s the best they’ve looked all season, outshooting the Spurs 64 percent to percent in that first period.

Blake Griffin went ballistic powering his way to the basket on 7-of-8 shooting, stunning the Spurs and racking up 14 points to end the first quarter. Chris Paul and Griffin both looked like themselves and showed no signs of injuries.

It looked like the Clippers had made the proper adjustments that needed to be made to compete with the Spurs in Game 3.

But suddenly the pace of the game changed in the second half leaving the Clippers devastated. After the Clippers had an impeccable twelve minutes of perfect basketball, the Spurs went on 80-46 run in final 35 minutes of the game.

“You knew they were going to make a run. It was just a matter of trying to withstand it,” Griffin said. “In the second half, especially the third quarter, we did a poor job of responding

The Spurs got the victory over the Clippers winning 96-86 and taking a 3-0 series lead leaving the Clippers in disbelief.

There wasn’t much Paul or Griffin could do to save their team from going down 0-3. The Spurs are just playing unbelievable basketball. San Antonio hasn’t lost a game in more than five weeks. Their last loss came from the Los Angeles Lakers back in April-on the road.

“I felt like we were playing good, but if you know anything about the Spurs, you know they are not going to let up,” Paul said. “Everybody knows how explosive the Spurs are, but we just could not get a stop.”

Griffin finished the game scoring 28 remarkable points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Paul played his quarterback position very well dishing out eight assists, but continued with his offensive woes. Mo Williams came out strong adding 19 points to the stat sheet.

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro just doesn’t have answers for this Spurs team. In all fairness, the Spurs look like the best team in basketball right now.

But Clippers fans expectations are set very high and apparently are ready to start blaming the Clippers coach for not being able to beat the Spurs. For the first time this season, Clippers fans abruptly left the building with about four minutes left in the fourth quarter chanting  “fire De Negro.”

Let the finger pointing began, as the Clippers season is only two days away from ending. It’s not fair to blame anyone just yet; they did finish the season strong, but ran into a team who has been on a winning streak.

With just one-game away from elimination, the Clippers will have one more chance to try and stay alive. It’s been a tough series for the Clippers, but Paul still has confidence that his team can make a comeback.

“We have to keep fighting, Paul said.”

 

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