The Los Angeles Clippers refused to be intimidated by the San Antonio Spurs as they rose to the challenge and handily defeated the defending champions, 107-92, in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
(Video) Blake Griffin schools Aron Baynes with three slam dunks in playoff opener
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The Clippers opened at home and took a big lead in the first quarter, but the Spurs went on a 19-7 run to trim the Clippers’ lead and tie the game.
However, the Clippers pulled away to take a 49-43 halftime lead. After pulling within four in the third quarter, the Clippers took a 15-point lead to end the period.
The Clippers never looked back in the fourth quarter, and power forward Blake Griffin amazed the crowd with three slam dunks over Spurs center Aron Baynes, including an amazing third one that will crack the SportsCenter highlights.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul ultimately stole the show though as he scored a game-leading 32 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists.
Griffin added 26 points with 12 rebounds while dishing out six assists, but his slam dunks were the perfect icing on the cake.
Although Paul and Griffin were easily the two best players on the court and drew MVP chants from Clippers fans, shooting guard Jamal Crawford continued to be a high-quality sixth man by scoring 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
Center DeAndre Jordan put on a fantastic defensive performance and played a mean game as he scored nine points with 14 rebounds and four blocked shots, all of which came in the first half. Here is his most memorable one of the night.
Three-point shooting was also a strong suit for the Clippers as they nailed 55.6 percent of their shots from downtown while making 51.3 percent of their shots from the field.
Meanwhile, the Spurs were uncharacteristically off on both offense and defense. They were held to 33.6 percent shooting, and their free throw shooting was dreadful as well as only 53.8 percent of them were made.
Power forward Tim Duncan was held to 4-of-10 shooting, but he still finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
However, shooting guard Danny Green was notably bad as he shot 2-for-11 while failing to connect on his three-pointers, as he only made 1-of-7 of them.
Green is known as one of the elite three-point shooters in the NBA, but the Clippers were able to keep him under control the entire night.
Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard was the only player who put on a respectable performance as he scored 18 points with six rebounds and three assists.
Point guard Tony Parker also had a forgettable performance with 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
Shooting guard Marco Belinelli and point guard Patty Mills made the most of their limited time off the bench by combining for 20 points and 6-of-10 three-point shooting.
The Clippers look like a team with the tools to take down the defending champions, and they will face the Spurs in Los Angeles once again on Tuesday for Game 2.
However, the Spurs will not be easy to eliminate as they have veterans who have experienced more than their fair share of playoff failures along with their championships.