Chris Paul and Blake Griffin battled foul trouble most of game, that resulted in Griffin fouling out with just 16 points in 19 minutes. Paul finished the game with 28 points, 8 assist with four fouls. A crucial play in the fourth quarter where Paul stole the ball with just 37 seconds left from Klay Thompson, and had an open 3-on-1 opportunity where JJ Redick and Darren Collison were open.
With about 17 seconds left, Clippers were trailing by two, when Paul turned and lost the ball out of bounces as he was double teamed by Dreymond Green and Steve Blake. The play was reviewed and no foul was called.
That call a day later, would be resended by the NBA league office.
Paul is not one for excuses, and realizes the severity of losing game one heading into game 2 on Monday night.
"I've got to take care of the ball," Paul said. "It was just tough. I think the biggest play probably -- other than me missing those free throws -- was that 3-on-1. I want to look at that again, because I probably should've given the ball up to J.J. or Darren, who were running with me."
Paul who also missed two free throws, realized that this is his time and sees where he needs to improve for game 2.
Paul and Griffin have something in common, they both have never made it past the second round in their careers. Being one of the best duo's in the NBA, and Paul being one of the best point guards in the league, the Clippers moment to shine brought begin with them.
Griffin also understands in order for this team to move collectively, he has to be on the floor majority of the time, unlike in game 1.
"I kept putting myself in a hole," Griffin said. "I got to do a better job."
Although the Clippers did a good job containing Steph Curry, who finished with 14 points, and kept Andre Iguodala in foul trouble. They will have to tighten up their defense especially in the middle with DeAndre Jordan being their defensive anchor.
"The pressure is all on them," Klay Thompson said who finished with 22 points. "They can't afford to go down 0-2 and go on the road."
The Clippers missed a golden opportunity to win game one, but this series is far from over. Expect Doc Rivers to make some key adjustments, along with Paul who has a legacy to build while putting this team on his back.
"We could have won this game. It would have been nice, but we still would have said there are a lot of things we need to better. … Luckily, this isn't football. It's not any given Saturday or Sunday," said Paul.
It's something special, dare I say magical about this year for Paul and Griffin, who finally have a coach in Rivers, that understands and executes a championship mindset that is infectious amongst his players.
Experience that will be utilized at some point in this series and the rest of these playoffs.