When Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are on the floor together, nothing’s too difficult or impossible for the San Antonio Spurs. Even a 33-11 deficit in the first quarter, which didn’t prevent the Los Angeles Clippers from going down 0-3 in their Western Conference Semi Final Series.
Call them old, but it doesn’t really matter. This Spurs team is hungry for their first NBA title since 2007. Tim Duncan is eager to wear a fifth NBA title ring. The Spurs, for a seventh consecutive time in the playoffs and 17th including the regular season, showed that they have the tools to achieve these goals.
What more could the Clippers have done? Their 22 point lead has never been beaten by a playoff team. The previous record, 21 points, also happened at the Staples Center. The Lakers had a 21 point lead (35-14) over the Boston Celtics before they fell apart, eventually giving away the NBA title to the C’s. If you needed signs to get you further believing in these Spurs, this was a good one.
Blake Griffin, who had his best game of the series, with 28 points and 16 rebounds, explained the difference between his team and the Spurs perfectly – They play the same whether they’re up 20 or down 20. Their communication and rotations are so good. Offensively, they know exactly what they’re going to do in every situation.
The Spurs remained calm and let the waves wash over them. Blake Griffin was fired out of a cannon to start the game, but no one on his team matched his shot making, aggression and most of all Chris Paul. Injured, healthy, it doesn’t really matter. Paul is the most important player, the best player on the Clippers team. He had another night which won’t go down in any history books, scoring 12 points while shooting 5-17 from the field. His 11 assists didn’t make up for it.
The third quarter ended the game. Tim Duncan started feeling more comfortable after the early Blake Griffin onslaught, the Clippers short attention span and defensive focus kicked into gear, and it ended up with a 24-0 run for the Spurs and a 26-8 third quarter. The Spurs kept moving the ball, kept hitting threes, and the Clippers pretty much gave up on trying to stop them or doing anything imaginative or creative on the offensive side. Blame it on the point guard or the head coach, it doesn’t really matter.
Duncan had another double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds while Tony Parker steered the ship in the right direction, scoring 23 points while handing out 10 dimes. Kawhi Leonard was the usual pleasant not-so-much-surprise, scoring 14 points, playing 37 minutes. Manu Ginobili added 13 off the bench. But it’s what the big three, the original big three, do when they’re on the court together.
In this series, they have played 52 minutes together. In these 52 minutes, they have outscored the Clippers by 44 points, while the team shoots 47.7% from the field (Clippers 35%) and 50% from beyond the arc. They played 18 minutes together in Game 3, outscoring the Clips by 11 points.
Any hope to comeback from 0-3 nothing? Even if the games were a little closer you’d have to say no way. At this point, it’s hard seeing the Clippers, who aren’t getting what they need from their best player, winning even one remaining game, let alone becoming the first NBA team to comeback from a 4-3 series. From the looks of things, the LA teams can begin their summer vacation. Leave the title talks and hopes for the Spurs and Thunder.