Blake Griffin has come under more criticism following a triple double than maybe any player in NBA playoff history. (LeBron James against the Mavericks back in 2011 is on the ridiculous list, too.) The Clippers are not close in Game 2 without a huge night from Griffin, but his turnover late in regulation with Los Angeles up two allowed San Antonio to tie the game and force overtime, where the Spurs eventually won.
The amazing Jenna Corrado asks me if the criticism is fair. Welcome to the playoffs. Fair is irrelevant. But I think this points to how the Clippers lack of depth left them making mistakes late — Chris Paul, Griffin, and the rest were exhausted. You could see it — the Clippers play an aggressive defense, play an uptempo game, and their starters carry a heavy load of minutes because Doc Rivers can’t trust his bench. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to make mental and physical mistakes. Like late turnovers, or not getting back on Patty Mills leak out, or Matt Barnes getting burned on Kawhi Leonard’s fake zipper cut and move to the basket. All of that happened late.
This series is incredibly close. The injury to Tony Parker is part of what will determine the outcome. But so too will the fact Doc has to lean so heavily on his starters.