The Los Angeles Clippers beat the playoff-hopeful New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, 107-100. They did so by following the same kind of formula since the second-half began: follow Chris Paul.
While Blake Griffin mentioned the team following coach Doc Rivers‘ offensive system, especially when he was injured, the truth is that the Clippers will survive and succeed only with Paul running the show.
“We trust the system, we know the system works. In the stretch of games when I was out, they really trusted it,” Griffin said. “Trusting the system is huge.”
The face is that Paul may very well be the “system.” Since Griffin went down, Paul’s been an MVP candidate with MVP defense. His defensive assignments have suffered his pestering coverage and the Clippers benefitted from his increased offensive outage. Yesterday’s game was a typical Paul line (since the Griffin injury):
23 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals.
His counterpart, Norris Cole was inefficient and fouled out. He finished with just 12 points and 4 assists.
Griffin may have been the marquee name to center around during the Pelicans’ game, with the power forward matchup with Anthony Davis, it was the Paul show in the end. Davis didn’t do too horribly either, despite foul troubles.
“He’s gifted and tough to guard in a lot of different ways. He can pick-and-pop, face-up, and get offensive rebounds; do everything,” Griffin said. “You always have to have a body on him and keep him off the glass. He shot the ball well.”
If the Clippers continue to play within themselves, as DeAndre Jordan, Griffin, and Paul mentioned in the post-game conference, they’ll control their own destiny. If they continue to play within Paul’s limitless point guard abilities and leadership, they may very well end that destiny with an NBA championship.
Photo Credit: JD Mercer/USA TODAY Sports
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