The Clippers had it. They had the Spurs down 0-2 in a first-round series for the first time in Tim Duncan’s career.
Then Blake Griffin did the only thing that his team couldn’t afford. He turned the ball over. Two San Antonio free throws and a missed fadeaway at the buzzer by Chris Paul later, and the Spurs were off the hook with new life in OT. As they always seem to do, the Spurs took advantage of Griffin’s colossal mistake and stole one on the road, 111-107, evening the series at 1-1 heading back to San Antonio.
Griffin stepped up in his post game press conference and put this one on himself:
The turnover may have cost the Clippers the game, but on a night that Tony Parker scored just one point before leaving the game with an injury, and Manu Ginobili was a non-factor before fouling out, Tim Duncan was the guy that kept the Spurs alive. The Big Fundamental turned back the clocks and went for 28 with 11 boards and four assists, leading the team in minutes with 44. Timmy became the fifth player in NBA history to score over 5,000 career postseason points in the process.
Maybe even more impressive, Gregg Popovich and Duncan have been down 1-0 in the first-round eight times … they’ve still never gone down 0-2.
The Clippers NEEDED that win in Game 2. There’s going to be plenty more close games in this series, but this is going to come back and bite them. When we look back on this first-round heavy weight battle, Griffin’s turnover is going to be the difference. As the Spurs capitalized on that specific play, they’ll take this game and use it to capitalize on the series. That’s what makes the Spurs the Spurs, after all.
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