Culver City Observer -

Can The Clippers Eliminate The Defending Champion Spurs?

Home Court Advantage Is Their Hope

 

April 23, 2015



By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

When Doc Rivers found out the Clippers would be playing the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in the first playoff round he asked ‘this is what we get for winning 14 of our last 15 games?”

It was nothing personal. The Clippers were the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. The Spurs were No. 6. The No. 3 always plays the No. 6 in the first round.

But it’s still unfortunate. This could easily be a conference championship matchup. Instead, one of these teams will be eliminated by next week.

So the Clippers had to stop feeling sorry for themselves and get to work. On Sunday, that’s exactly what they did.

They trounced the Spurs in Game One. They ran up a 30-18 lead after one quarter, and after allowing the Spurs to take a brief lead they ran away to a 103 xx victory.

So this is quite different for the Spurs. In all the years Tim Duncan has played for them the Spurs had enjoyed the home court advantage every time but once.

Instead, they had to confront a hungry Clippers team and a charged-up sellout crowd at Staples Center.

But it was only one game. A second Clippers win would put the Spurs in a difficult position but a Spurs win would get them a split here with the teams heading to San Antonio for Games 3 and 4.

Championship teams like the Spurs often know they have to overcome adversity on their way to another series win.

But the Clippers showed in Game One they’re ready for the battle.

So we’ll see.

“We fell to the No. 6 seed when we had several injuries,” said Spurs’ coach Greg Popovich. “When we got these players back we won 21 of the last 25 games in the regular season.”

What happened in Game One?

“Their defense was better than our offense,” he said. “They got into our passing lanes and they were more physical.”

The Clippers are trying to protect against overconfidence.

‘We don’t get too high or too low,” said Jamal Crawford. We Talk about that.

“We did what we had to do in Game One but that’s just the beginning of the series.”

Spurs’ star guard Tony Parker tweaked an ankle during Game One, an injury that is not considered serious.

“This series is another challenge for us but we’ve been through a lot of situations over the years,” he said.

Rivers had center DeAndre Jordan, an excellent defensive player, guard Duncan, a forward. Duncan didn’t have a good game.

“They affected us at the basket and DeAndre was a big part of that,” said Duncan.

When the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year is announced in a few days Jordan is one of the favorites to win the award.

Bosmat Eynav contributed to this article

 

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