Vintage Blake Griffin led Los Angeles Clippers to a thumping 107-92 victory over San Antonio Spurs on Sunday in game one. The defending champions were outclassed in the second session and now trail the first round series 0-1 to the Clippers.
Though a cracker of a match was expected in the opening playoff, the game did not dish out a closely contested finishing. Both teams approached the match with high emotions, but the Spurs will be wondering what actually went wrong on Sunday evening.
The combination of big men, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, for the Clippers made all the difference.
Griffin finished on a high note with 26 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, three blocks and three steals and got the crowd going several times with monster dunks. His successive slams on Aron Baynes were just vicious.
On the other hand Jordan anchored the side on the defensive end and boards. Points and blocks could not reflect the kind of impact he created on the game.
The next man to reckon with is Chris Paul, who returned with 32 points, six rebounds and equal number of blocks. With the big men dominating upfront, Paul and the shooters, got numerous opportunities at the perimeter to make Spurs pay.
The winning formula applied by the Clippers is based on physicality and high energy, whether they would be able to maintain it for the rest of the seven match series is questionable. But the presence of athletes like Griffin and Jordon can swing the fortunes in Clippers favor.
The Spurs, considered as a dangerous side as they finished the last season hot, suffered a jolt in the first playoff game and Clippers’ stellar show has started to change the narrative of the series.
After three seasons of early round failure, Clippers look hungry for their first major taste of post-season success.
Game two is scheduled on Wednesday night.
“I just want to be aggressive, I just don’t want to settle for anything as now is not the time for any self-preservation,” Griffin stated in a Sports Illustrated report after his outstanding performance.
Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points for the Spurs. San Antonio possess the potential to punch back in the series, but after the first encounter, the Clippers appear to be the hot favorites to win.