CLIPPERS MORE ‘RELAXED’ IN GAME 2
PLAYA VISTA – The most telling difference between Game 1, a four-point loss, and Game 2, a 40-point victory for the Clippers, was not on the scoreboard or the box score.
It was in their approach.
“I just felt going into the game we were so much more relaxed that we were going to play better,” Blake Griffin said prior to Tuesday’s film session at the team’s training center. “We play well when we are relaxed. We play well when we’re playing free. So, we try to achieve that every single night.
“Fortunately, we did. It was the way we played. It wasn’t about the points or how much we won by.”
The Clippers won, 138-98, setting franchise record for points scored and victory margin in postseason game. However, playing with a newfound sense of urgency for 48 minutes was boosted by something of a carefree approach.
After Game 1, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said he felt like his team did not play like itself, in part, because they wanted to win so badly that they became mistake-prone.
“We let Game 1 slip by us,” Davis said. “Whatever we needed to wake us up, I feel like it did. Hopefully, we can keep this energy going.”
Said Griffin, “I think we realized that if we play our game and do the things that we worked on we’d be successful. With how poorly we played and how everything went in Game 1, to be tied there at the end it kind of was a little bit of encouragement for us, even with the loss.”
Rivers said he did not address losing Game 1 because in any postseason series adversity should be expected. He did, though, ask the Clippers to zero in on the Warriors instead of letting totality of the Playoffs, and championship aspirations, take hold.
“What I thought we did a better job of is that everything that I heard was us talking about us winning a Playoff series,” Rivers said. “I never heard us mention Golden State as an opponent. I just thought that’s the opponent. That’s who we have to play. That’s who we have to focus on.”
Chris Paul has scored at least 12 points with eight assists and four steals in each of the first two games of the series. He is just the sixth player since 1986 to do so in back-to-back playoff games.
He’s done it while playing through a strained right hamstring. Rivers said Paul will rest over the next two days to make sure he is ready for Game 3 Thursday.
“He won’t do much,” Rivers said. “He may do a little tomorrow, but nothing today. We’re not doing anything today anyway. I don’t need him doing anything.”
The Clippers practice Wednesday morning before leaving for the Bay Area later in the afternoon.
“The two days are huge for us, for him,” Rivers said. “It’s funny. He’s the only one. We go into the series thinking about J.J. [Redick] and Jamal [Crawford] and we left the game last night thinking we need two days for C.P. These days will be good for him.”