Clippers, Spurs Still Have Holes to Fill?
It stung the Clippers even more, because if (Chris) Paul can’t be successful, what other late options do they have? Blake Griffin was dunking all over the Spurs in the first half, even in the half-court offense. So the Spurs mixed it up in the second half and sent a quick double-team at Griffin. Griffin hasn’t learned how to evade it, or to create space with his body, so he clears out by dribbling away from the basket. That’s mission accomplished for the Spurs. He scored only six of his 22 points in the second half.
At least he made a bigger impact than (Manu) Ginobili. Ginobili was wincing and doubled over after Kenyon Martin laid a hard screen on him in the first half. I don’t know if that was the play that gave Ginobili a strained left oblique muscle, or if it happened earlier, but I know Ginobili was in pain after that encounter.
Ginobili has dealt with some type of injury in each of the past four playoffs. His tires might be out of tread. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich sounded as if Ginobili, who just missed 22 games with a broken hand, could be out for another long stretch.
Perhaps an absent or diminished Ginobili won’t hurt as much as it would have in the past. The Spurs did just go 15-7 without him. He used to be the most critical player on the team. Now it’s Parker. Still, Ginobili could be the difference between the Spurs reaching the conference finals or not.