Last night's game between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers was nothing short of a thriller.
Tim Duncan sealed the game by putting the Spurs up by two with an "and 1" play and leaving the Spurs' defense to do the work with 2.2 seconds left in the game.
The way the game ended, you could see the results from two perspectives.
From the San Antonio side, it was Duncan being clutch to help his team win with the basket over a few Clippers close to him. From a Los Angeles perspective, it's a bit different if you ask Blake Griffin after the game.
"We know we can play with them. We know we can beat them," said Griffin.
The Clippers know they can beat the Spurs. The series is tied after last night at 2-2 with L.A. winning the first two. This may have been a game they wanted to win to bring momentum to the playoffs in case they met the silver and black at some point.
With Manu Ginobili out with a tight hamstring during the game, this was their game for the taking. Instead of going in with momentum against a veteran lead team, they're going in with frustration.
After Duncan hit that game winner, Chris Paul lost his focus and team followed. When the foul was called on Duncan's shot, he argued to the refs that Duncan traveled (which he didn't). Still complaining over it, he went with the same mindset on the offensive side of the floor and tried to draw a foul on Tony Parker by doing his best flopping job to draw a foul with no call.
This wasn't the end of it as the the whole Clippers went after a referee on the court and were still complaining about it in the locker room.
"It's not easy to let it go, but we'll keep it in the back of our minds. We should have won this game," said Paul.
The Los Angeles Clippers will remember this game and you can't blame them.
Paul and Griffin shot a combined 12-3 from the field and were just one defensive play away from winning the game. They most likely won't duplicate that performance if the two teams meet again, but the Spurs got an energetic boost from this game where it might not matter. The Spurs are a playoff tested team.
The younger core of Spurs are already looking to erase the memory of last year's playoff collapse and are now willing to play with a hard nosed mentality when the postseason rolls around. The Clippers showed they are the opposite of the story.
When the postseason comes around and fouls are harder while the refs let the teams play over blowing a whistle, Los Angeles may not be ready for the tough play ahead if they can't forget this game as one they got robbed.
The Clippers know they can beat the Spurs this season and they have, but the Spurs know they can beat the Clippers in the playoffs because they have.
They went to the Western Conference Finals and lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder after sweeping the Clippers and are going in determined, not confident, into the playoffs. That Spurs' mindset can't be shaken unlike the Clippers' confidence.
What do you think Spurs fans? Should be the Clippers be confident or discouraged with their loss to the Spurs?
Chris Paul 2has been on some loaded teams and has never even been out of the second round of the playoff, i am old and do watch basketball. but for you guys that want to say other wise numbers dont lie he has been two the playoffs 4 times and only has played 34 games and has been knocked out of the playoffs 3 years by the spurs...Not a true leader, but what do i expect from a clippers fan, that is right this is the first time you have had back to back winning seasons. Build your Chris Paul Statue for just getting your back to back winning season. Remember a leader will be the one that gets you a title talent gets you a great regular season...
@ChrisCano He has never been on a loaded team. Tyson Chandler? David West? Really? Is Tim Duncan a leader? Or Parker? Duncan, Parker, Ginobli and David Robinson are better than any player that has shared a court with Chris Paul. Take away Robinson and the Spurs don't win the first two. Take away any of the other three and they don't win the next two. Chris Paul elevates the level of play of all those he plays with. That is what a leader does. It is not just about rings. And he will get his rings someday. The talent around him is just a little too young, but they are coming soon. And I like the Spurs. I went to SDSU and will always root for Kawhai Leonard. And Duncan is my favorite non-Clipper in the NBA. The only team I have always hated is the Lakers. Oh, and was LeBron James a leader before he joined Wade and Bosh? He got Cleveland great regular seasons. And is he a leader now because he has a ring?
The Clippers "may not be ready for the tough play ahead"? Really? The seven game series against Memphis last year, where the Clippers won twice on the road, was tougher than anything the Spurs can put out there. I don't think many people think of the Spurs as playing a tough style. They are more euro-style execution than anything else.
@MySDClippers many people also see the Spurs as boring, even though they're one of the most exciting high scoring teams in the league. how people view them means nothing compared to what they actually bring. the Spurs are a tough team and you saw it last night when Duncan dominated the paint and Parker got roughed up and got up. Chris Paul was the polar opposite by complaining about calls like the non-travel from Tim Duncan and the supposed foul when he tried to flop against Parker on the last shot. dude was even complaining to the refs after the game and pouting in the locker room.
@Jose_G Hey, I like the Spurs. Everyone gets upset when I say every team has players that "embellish" contact to try to get a call. We have CP3. Last year we had Reggie Evans. The Spurs have Ginobli and Parker. I don't think it is dirty to hit the floor when you get bumped on a drive. Parker and Paul were on the floor all game long last night. Every team has floppers and every team has players that complain about non-calls. The NBA has an unwritten rule that usually benefits the home team at the end of games. It is just how it is. The Clippers get calls at home that they don't on the road. I really hope these two teams meet in the playoffs. It would be awesome.
Clippers got beat last night by the better team. Period. Can they beat the Spurs in the playoffs? I don't see why not. And it cracks me up how many people say "their" team got screwed by the refs. Don't you think when both teams' fan bases complain post game about the officiating that the game might have been called pretty evenly?
As Great as everyone thinks that Chris Paul is he has never really went deep into the playoffs. He has had some loaded rosters while he was on the Hornets, Last year Clippers were much deeper and got swept. He is a great player but lacks the leadership factor. Clippers need a strong leader and they just don't have it from the coach down, so this year will be like every Chris Paul playoff run, an early exit.
@ChrisCano Chris Paul lacks the leadership factor? How old are you? How many NBA games have you seen? Do you use recreational drugs at your computer? Seriously, you could make a lot of claims about CP3, the coach, the Clippers free throw shooting, etc...., but to stat that Chris Paul is not a leader? You lose all creditability, bro.
They should be discouraged, even with the refs helping them in the whole first half they still lost. Maybe they should not have acted like babies crying to their mamas.