Louisville, KY March 5, 2015 (Analyzed Sports)
Houston’s Big Problem
The Los Angeles Clippers have had quite the start to this year’s NBA Playoffs. Saturday the Clippers got past the first the round of the NBA Playoffs by defeating the defending NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs in an epic seven game series. However the downfall was that Clippers starting point guard and NBA All-Star, Chris Paul, suffered a hamstring injury during Saturday night’s game. The Clippers would also have to play the Houston Rockets, led by All-Star James Harden, in game one of the Western Conference Quarter Finals at Houston on Monday night.
The Clippers announced shortly before game one Monday night that Chris Paul would have to sit out due to his hamstring injury. That meant the Clippers would have to turn to their other All-Star and starting power forward, Blake Griffin, to take his game to another level. Griffin had averaged nearly 24 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists per game in the Clippers seven games against the Spurs. However without Chris Paul, Griffin would have to be more of a decision-maker on offense against the Rockets and that he was. Griffin finished the game Monday night with a triple-double 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists, leading the Clippers to a 117-101 upset win over the Rockets.
” I needed Blake to do a little bit of everything tonight and he did,” said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. However Blake Griffin wasn’t always this caliber of player in the NBA, he began his NBA career as a player who depended solely on his athleticism. Before this post season Blake had never had a triple-double in his three previous NBA Playoff appearances, but in this year’s post season alone he has three. As for his decision-making skills Blake has nearly doubled his assists per game in this year’s NBA Playoffs averaging nearly eight assists per game, as opposed to just four assists per game last year in the Playoffs.
The emergence of Blake Griffin is definitely a big problem for Houston as the Rockets don’t really have a player that can cover him consistently. Putting center Dwight Howard of the Rockets on him will open up rebounding for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Blake is quicker than Howard as well. Also Houston forwards Josh Smith and Terrance Jones don’t have the foot speed to keep up with Griffin and doubling him would mean open threes for the Clippers outside shooters. With all of that said Griffin’s work on his decision-making and shooting has really allowed him to take his game to another level. The scary thing is Blake at, only 26 years old, still has a few more prime years left so the “Blake Show” will be here for a while.
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