If Game 1 is a preview of what’s to come in this series, then, the Clippers are on their way to the second round. Portland hung around in the first half. Clippers led by eight at halftime. Credit the Clippers for not letting up in the third quarter and keeping the pedal on the gas. The exclamation mark came midway through the third when this happened…
— Davide Chinellato (@dchinellato) April 18, 2016
Come on Plumlee! You know better than that. Did you really want to be a footnote on Blake’s poster? Now you are. This is the exclamation mark that the Clippers needed, especially from Blake. Heading into the playoffs the doubts about Blake lingered. Would he be healthy enough? Could he get back his athleticism? Would he be a contributing factor? Yes. Yes. Yes. His stat line was fairly impressive for someone making their first start in months: 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists in 32 minutes.
The night belonged to Chris Paul. Leading points and assist man who netted 28 and dished out 11. A year ago this would have been a surprise stat line to see Paul lead the Clips in scoring, but the injury to Griffin has opened the door for Paul to be more aggressive offensively, and not solely focus on distributing the ball. Paul’s offense could be an important factor in the later rounds going up against teams like the Golden State Warriors.
Game 1 was a complete Clipper performance. It’s important for the Clippers to put away the games early, so that the veterans and Griffin can get some extra rest. It’s doubtful that C.J. McCollum will go 3-for-11 again from the field in the next game. Damian Lillard didn’t have a good game either, going 7-for-17 for 21 points. Expect those two to be a lot more aggressive and drive to the rim. The Clippers will need to continue to be aggressive and get the early lead in Game 2 on Wednesday night. If Game 1 was any indication, they will be ready for the task.
*Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images