After a Game 2 loss to the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers are now preparing for this Friday’s third game of the conference semifinals. And some say that they will have a fair chance of winning if Black Griffin keeps up the good work.
Los Angeles already proved that they are a rock-solid team that can win even though they had to employ Austin Rivers as their point guard in Game 1. Chris Paul, who missed the game because of a strained hamstring, was not able to participate in Game 2 either, and his status for Game 3 is uncertain.
Yet, replacing Paul with Rivers in Game 3 could turn out a risky business. Rivers has six fouls, which is more than his total assists in the series. Although, he finished with 17 points on Monday, he only had 10 points Wednesday, and performed a late turnover that cost his team four points in the last 27 seconds.
But despite Paul’s absence, Blake Griffin took the lead and his double triple carried the team to a 117-101 victory early this week. On the other hand, critics say that it was just pure luck since the team was able to take advantage on the Rockets lack of cohesion and momentum.
But we will all have to wait and see in Game 3 if that was really the case. Yet, having Paul on board their odds would more than double. He was seen Thursday training on the court but no one knows whether he would be able to play Friday.
Although coach Doc Rivers announced that Paul was getting better, the “eye and feel test” will eventually decide the fate of the player in Game 3. But even without him on the court, Griffin managed to pull off alone a brilliant performance through six quarters against the Rockets.
He finished Game 1 with 26 points, 13 assists and 14 rebounds, and scored 26 points by halftime in Game 2 securing the Clippers a 65-56 lead. But as the Rockets rallied in the second half, Griffin could only pull out eight points and see his team lose 115-109 and a 13-point lead.
Griffin said that his team couldn’t predict in due time Houston’s clogged defensive tactics. So they currently plan to better predict them and react accordingly. Especially in Game 3 where home court is at stake.
“Definitely feels like we let one get away. We came here to win two, but we’re going back with home court now. Got to protect home court,”
On the other hand, Houston has increased odds of success since James Harden seems to have waked up from his Game 1 nightmare. Wednesday, he scored 32 points, half of them in the fourth quarter. But on Monday, he was able to finish with only 20 points, which is his lowest playoffs scoring to date.
Before Game 2, Harden said that letting Game 1 slipping away wouldn’t happen again. He also said that although the two games would be “tough,” their “mojo” was back. Recently, he also said that the team was ready to go into Game 3 as they have rebuilt momentum.
Image Source: LA Times