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Spurs control Chris Paul, control Clippers, control Game 1

May 16, 2012, 1:36 AM EDT

San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan spreads his arms during a stop in play during their NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Texas Reuters

Chris Paul is the beating heart of a Clippers offense, one based around him using his immense skill and basketball IQ to carve teams up. Ask Memphis.

But behind Tony Parker, Danny Green and a team effort where San Antonio overloaded Paul’s side of the court they held CP3 in check — 3-for-13 shooting, 10 assists and 5 turnovers — and that kept the explosive Clippers in check. The result was a very Spurs-like 108-92 win in Game 1.

What should concern Clippers faithful is that while the Spurs started to figure out and adjust and go with what worked as the game went on, the Clippers found it harder to go to other options.

The Clippers did a good job of slowing down Tony Parker — 7 points on 1-9 shooting, but 11 assists and 4 turnovers. But the Spurs had other options: Tim Duncan had 26, Manu Ginobili had 22, Kawhi Leonard had 16 points and was 3-3 from beyond the arc. The Spurs core destroyed the Clippers core.

Part of that might have been the Clippers were tired — this was their sixth game in 11 days. But it doesn’t matter, this series goes plays again Thursday then back-to-back Saturday and Sunday. There is no rest coming.

Neither team was sharp all the way around on defense in this game, save for their point guards cancelling each other out. It was 57-49 Spurs at the half but the only real difference was the Spurs were 7-11 from three.

San Antonio finished 13-25 from deep, but they also shot 81 percent in the paint and got a lot of shots right at the rim. When the Spurs are getting baskets from layups and threes they will destroy any defense.

There were bright spots for the Clippers — Blake Griffin was moving better early on and had 10 points in first half. Eric Bledsoe was spectacular off the bench with 23 points and great energy. DeAndre Jordan at home in finesse not physical style of play with 7 points and 8 boards in first half. But the Spurs adjusted like they do and had 1 rebound only on the second half.

That’s because the veteran Spurs behind Gregg Popovich adjust. After a closer first half San Antonio the third quarter with a series of runs (one 8-0, another 7-0) by playing sharper defense, making the extra pass on offense. The Clippers had no answers.

But at the start of the fourth the Spurs started hurting themselves with bad decisions, like Tiago Spliter trying to take Kenyon Martin off the dribble from the top of the key (it wasn’t pretty). The Clippers went small with a Kenyon Martin at center lineup, a few quick Spurs turnovers and the 18-point lead was down to 8.

But San Antonio is not Memphis, they do not melt away.

The Clippers have to find some defensive answers. They have to figure out how to make the Spurs pay for overloading on Paul. It’s not easy, it’s growing pains. Something the Spurs have already been through and come out the other side.

  1. Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 16, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    Well done, Spurs.

    I look forward to a Battle: Los Angeles in the WCF.

    But only just this once for the triviality of it. It would take a humongous effort for the Clippers to topple the Spurs. Another Game 7 perhaps?

    If ever the Spurs lose in this series I hope it isn’t going to be painful to watch like last year. It has to be a fight to the last second.

    Though honestly, I won’t be surprised if the Spurs take this series as well.

  2. passerby23 - May 16, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    Clippers aren’t ready yet. The Spurs are experienced, polished, deep, and rested. LAC is gaining some valuable playoff experience, but this is the Spurs year to shine. Spurs in 5.

  3. rushbacker - May 16, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    DeAndre Jordan at home in finesse not physical style of play with 7 points and 8 boards in first half. But the Spurs adjusted like they do and had 1 rebound only on the second half.

    What? Come on, man, at least make SOME sort of effort at it! Is English your first language?

  4. bowwserr - May 16, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    I can usually look past the typos in these posts. But this is pretty blatant. Such a great site doesn’t have an editor, or someone readin through these things before they’re published, makin sure they at least make sense? This was pretty terrible. I could hardly make out the above-mentioned paragraph. Yall can do better. So do better.

  5. lakerade - May 16, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    Yes please, more copy editing.

  6. koloofai - May 16, 2012 at 6:00 AM

    I truly am wondering if his first language is English..

  7. mungman69 - May 16, 2012 at 6:36 AM

    The Spurs are just too good for the Clippers. Spurs want to finish this series quickly so they can rest.

  8. mrklutch - May 16, 2012 at 6:48 AM

    My favorite was when Duncan bumped into Griffin lightly and Blake acted like he got punched in the face..and this happened after the bucket as Duncan turned.

  9. hollywood26 - May 16, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    I hate seeing all the complaints about grammar and spelling when I read the comments but I have to agree this is starting to get a bit ridiculous. It’s almost like they are taking bullet points and expounding on them but forgetting to use full sentences.

  10. kappneffect - May 16, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    70+ comments on the Heat vs. Pacers and 7 on this game…sad sad times. I think the Spurs will take the series in 4 or 5 as they are just too much for the Clips. They are the freaking best team in the playoffs next to the Thunder. Definitely gonna be a west title holder this year… just a matter of Spurs vs. OKC now. The East has had so many injuries that the competition really took a hit there….

  11. ragingmouse - May 16, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Good game for the spurs.
    They were a little off ( turnovers ) but they keep it together and played better when they had to.
    TD had a excellent game!
    I think it’s over in 4…

  12. klownboy - May 16, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Spurs and Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Mark my words!!!

    • kappneffect - May 16, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      Ha… I don’t see it happening.

  13. 16x8equal49ers - May 16, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    I can’t understand half the sentences you write.

  14. Justin - May 16, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Just watched highlights of this game and saw the part where Duncan bumped Griffin and then stopped and apologized and everything. That dude is all class.

    Also, I agree with the above posters. I had to force myself to finish reading that story. It was atrocious. Kurt must have been sobbing while writing because of the Heat loss.

  15. mungman69 - May 16, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    A Spurs vs. Thunder series would be a great series of two different kinds of teams. But, neither team has won this series yet.

  16. redwards29a - May 16, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    English, MF. Do you speak it?

  17. lakerluver - May 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Hate to admit it, but, damn the Spurs are looking good.

  18. Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Go ahead, Spurs, get all excited. When you face the Kobe you will be crushed. My Kobe Bryant Action Figure collection has predicted it.

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