The Los Angeles Clippers looked like they had finally figured out the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal matchup. The Clips opened up a big early lead and looked confident, but things went south in a hurry and the Clippers are now in a 3-0 hole and on the verge of being swept out of the postseason.
And this afternoon, the Clips came out on fire and showed the Spurs who they really are... they went on a stunning 24-4 run in early minutes and led the Spurs by 22 at the end of the first quarter. Ahh... this was gonna be easy, this was gonna shut up the Jon Barry and Michael Wilbons of the world and the Clips were gonna walk over the mighty Spurs on their home court. Blake Griffin was a frantic vision, hitting shots from all over the court, scoring eighteen and pulling down seven rebounds in the first frame.
But... then the Spurs woke up. They swatted the Clippers like sluggish flies. They cut it to ten by the half, tied it with five left in the third, and were ahead by eight at the beginning of the fourth. The Clips tried to rally, but couldn't get anything going. Chris Paul who has been the Clips late-minutes hero all season, showed little tonight. We can blame it on his hip flexor, sure, but... the Clips have thirteen more guys on their playoff roster, right? Blame those guys too.
There's no other way to look at it, San Antonio laid out the Clippers in a performance that showed both the Spurs superiority and the Clippers over-reliance on their star. Now they're down 3-0 and they're reeling like drunks. But let's not forget they lost to a great, experienced team, with a great coach.
The Clippers will host the Spurs again on Sunday and will have one more chance to give the Staples Center something to cheer about.