If all road wins are sweet and playoff road wins are sweeter, then series ending playoff wins must be the sweetest. The Spurs went to Los Angeles for a back-to-back and won them both to end the series, complete their second sweep of the playoffs, and extend their winning streak to 18. A very fine two days work.
Now, it’s time for more rest.
The 102-99 victory wasn’t the prettiest of wins. Outside of a dominant stretch in the first quarter, the Spurs never really found their rhythm. Too many turnovers and too many missed jumpers kept them from ever going on a run to put some distance between themselves and a feisty Clipper team.
Song of the Game: Dust My Broom by Elmore James
Elmore James is an old slide guitar blues artist out of Chicago (born in Mississippi). He drank hard, lived fast, and died young. “Dust My Broom” is about, well, have a listen.
Play of the Game: The Back Door Cut
The Spurs managed to find themselves behind on the scoreboard twice in the last four minutes of the game. On both occasions, the Spurs ran a back door cut for a layup. On both occasions, the defender was Eric Bledsoe. On both occasions, Tim Duncan was the passer.
The first time was to Manu. Manu was on the upside block and faked around a down pick from Kawhi Leonard. Bledsoe was so anxious to deny Manu the ball on the wing, like he’d been doing all series, that Manu just cut to the rim instead, gathered the pass, and made the layup.
Two possessions later it was the play we see all the time from Tim and Tony. Tim had the ball at the elbow and Tony was on the downside block looking like he’d go to the perimeter to get the ball. Instead, he posted up a fronting Bledsoe, gathered the pass, and made the layup. The layup gave the Spurs a lead they would not relinquish.
Both plays are examples of why experienced teams win playoff games. Down the stretch, the Spurs ran plays they have run many times before against a young, energetic player, and came up with easy buckets. At the other end, the Clippers got nothing easy as Chris Paul dominated the ball the final 4 minutes.
D’ing Up: Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard
The defense of Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard was phenomenal in this game. In particular, I think Danny Green was great. He did a fantastic job of making Chris Paul work hard to get everything he got. Down the stretch, the last 4 minutes, the Clippers ran every play for Chris Paul and the Spurs made him a scorer. Only one other player took a shot in the last four minutes, a Mo Williams miss. The Clippers only scored on 3 of those last 8 possessions. Paul was 2-5 with a turnover (and 3 made free throws). Danny Green was the primary defender and he played great defense on the last Paul drive in a two-point game.
Passing Up (bad): Matt Bonner
Ok. I’m joking. He’s not trending down. He’s just down. It might just be me, but Matt looks like he is passing up shot after shot on the perimeter. I’m not sure if he isn’t ready on the catch, thinks guys are closer than they are, or I’m crazy, but he’s pump faking and driving 4 times out of 5. He needs to shoot or pass. Preferably shoot.
Passing Up (good): Stephen Jackson
I thought Captain Jack did a great job of finding teammates for easy buckets. He ended with 4 assists and it seemed like all four were layups.
Passing Up(good) 2: 28 assists on 38 field goals
Tony led the team with 5 assists, but four more guys had 4 assists. That’s great ball movement and team sharing. On the other side, Foye was second on the team with 3, and three more guys had 2. The Clippers had 22 assists and 41 made field goals.
Heating Up: Gary Neal
I’m surprised to see that Gary only played 14:17, the lowest on the team. It seemed like he was out there a lot. Maybe that’s because he still managed to get up 7 shots. And good for him because he made 5. Gary is starting to get that shooting stroke going and when he does he can put up a lot of points.
This series wasn’t a good match up for him. I think we can expect a couple big games from him in the next round.
With the Thunder up 3-1, that’s who I’m expecting to play in the next round. I think we match up really well with them, but they are also a very complete team except for the fact that they have no post offense. My guess is that we will start our series on Sunday. I’m not sure I can wait.