The winner of this game will gain a decisive advantage in this hard-fought series between the Clippers and Spurs.
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The Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs face off in a crucial Game 5 of the First Round of the playoffs to determine who gets the 3-2 edge in the series.
After the Clippers took Game 1 in San Antonio, the Spurs responded with back to back wins first at home and then on the road before the Clippers tied the series at 2-2 in Game 4 in LA thanks to an incredible 34-point performance by G Chris Paul in a 114-105 victory.
Now the series is back in San Antonio and the Spurs are looking to take back control of the series. San Antonio got the stellar performances they needed for the third straight game out of the championship-winning combination of Kahwi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Danny Green, but it wasn’t enough to stop Chris Paul and his perfection from the free throw line. With 100 points scored in each of the last three games, the Spurs just need to improve their defense and improve their accuracy at the line in order to keep the Clippers in check.
As for the Clippers, Chris Paul’s 34-point performance was a real wakeup call for the team after they were held to a series-low 73 points at home in Game 3. Now that they’re back in San Antonio, where they recorded 107 points in the first two games, maybe the rest of the team will come to life as well. But for that to happen the Clippers need to get their accuracy back on 3-point shots. Chris Paul and J. J. Redick were the only players that managed to pull off 3-pointers in their Game 4 win and the team on the whole missed 13 out of 18 with Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes both going 0-for-3.
Prediction: San Antonio Spurs win – It’s hard to imagine Gregg Popovich allowing his team to go back to Los Angeles trailing 3-2 with a chance at a first round elimination, so he’ll likely empty his mental vault of any tricks he pull out to get the victory in this game. Expect a return to actual scoring from C Tiago Splitter after he was held scoreless in the Game 4 loss and a big game from Tim Duncan as also tries to reclaim the home court advantage.