The Los Angeles Clippers turned their game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors into a distant memory as they cruised to a 138-98 victory last night in the Staples Center. Blake Griffin scored 35 points in 30 minutes of action on 13 of 17 shooting from the field. This production was a stark contrast in game 1 when Griffin scored 16 points in 20 minutes and fouled out in the final 5 minutes.
While Blake Griffin starred last night, the win was truly a team effort. As the buzzer sounded ending the first quarter, the lead was 11. By the end of the second quarter it was 26 and at one point it was 29 thanks to the incredible play of the Clippers bench. Their 58 point contribution last night was the driving force behind the Clippers beat down of the Warriors.
Because of the heightened play from guys like Hedo Turkoglu, Jamal Crawford, Danny Granger, and Darren Collison no starter logged over 30 minutes of action. Side note, their success has seen former starter Jared Dudley’s role diminished to the point where he only played 4 minutes in the blow out last night.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Clippers played Doc Rivers defense. The starters defended the pick and roll very well, especially Chris Paul. He fought through screens and although he had a rough day offensively he made up for it defensively in the first half limiting the production of the Warriors ball handling. Steph Curry did finished with 24 points but only 2 of those came in the first half. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan did an excellent job on switching and hedging ball screens, something they have struggled with for much of the season.
The second unit could have played better defensively, especially Glen Davis who made the conscious decision to not hedge or switch on screens. The Clippers are out of options in terms of their front line reserves, so if Davis’ effort moving forward resembles that of last night, the Clips are going to have a problem.
One final note, the officiating was only slightly better last night, but not by much. Andre Iguodala picked up fouls on two clean steals and Klay Thompson picked up 3 fouls in the first quarter, two of which were on very questionable calls. Luckily for Mike Callahan’s crew it was a blowout and it had no real affect on the outcome, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. The officials better step up their game because officiating in Oracle Arena is a difficult task with considering it is hands down the best home court advantage in the NBA.
Forget the officiating, game 3 is going to be exciting because of that crowd and how it will energize the Golden State Warriors. Expect to see fireworks in game 3 and what has the potential to be the best game of the series.