The Los Angeles Clippers came out of the gates on fire on Saturday. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul both came out aggressive and put up early points. The Spurs couldn’t buy a shot in the first quarter, and by the time the quarter came to an end the Clippers were up 33-11 on 64 percent shooting from the field.
For most teams this would be when they would emotionally shut down. They’d already be mentally preparing themselves for game four. The reserves would play the remainder of the game and everyone would basically write this game off. Unfortunately for the Clippers, San Antonio just kept playing.
"They came out like we expected, very strong. Blake was making crazy shots," Parker said. "We just took our time. It's a long game, a very long game. At halftime, we were very calm."
By halftime the Spurs had cut the lead down to a manageable nine point lead. The tides had turned and everyone in the Staples Center could feel it.
Then in the 3rd quarter San Antonio poured it on. The Spurs went on a 24-0 run. The Clippers didn’t score for an 8:15 stretch. Now, that is domination.
"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.
Poor job is right. When the dust settled San Antonio was up by 11 points. Tony Parker went for 23 points and 10 assists, Tim Duncan 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Manu Ginobili dropped 13 points 6 assists and 4 rebounds.
"When they spread the floor and Tim Duncan runs a high pick-and-roll, it's trouble for a lot of teams," Griffin said. "That's basically what killed us in the third. This is what they do best."
The Spurs now lead this best of four series 3-0. No NBA team has ever come back from being down 0-3 and the Clippers certainly show no signs of being the first team to accomplish this herculean task.
Photo Credit: AP