Game 1 was everything we wanted and didn’t want to see in a Clippers-Warriors series. It was a close game and came down to the wire before deciding a true factor, but the end result felt skewed to the refs calling it a close game. There was little Andre Iguodala. There was little Blake Griffin. The former hurt, but the latter was the ultimate decision between winning and losing a game.
And Clippers star Chris Paul knows that as he’s not afraid to say what everyone is thinking: the Clippers need Blake Griffin on the floor in order to win this series.
“It was tough; it was huge,” Paul soon said about Griffin’s limited presence, which included fouling out with 48 seconds left in a tie game. “Blake is our go-to guy, contrary to what people might think. We play through BG. As you can see, he’s tough to guard. When he only plays 19 minutes, that’s tough.”
“We need 32, though,” said Paul, referring to Griffin’s number and adding the adverb to show he was indeed introducing the different topic all on his own. “It’s no secret. We need BG.”
“The series we played last year and the year before that were way, way, way more physical,” Griffin said. “So it’s kind of hard to know what you can get away with and what you can’t. But like I said, I have to be smarter in that area and not put us in that situation.”
via Chris Paul Stresses Clippers’ Need for Blake Griffin After Loss to Warriors | Bleacher Report
Having the main cog to your offense for three minutes in the first half and fouling out in the middle of a back-and-forth affair in the last two minutes of the game hurts. Blake Griffin isn’t a better player, but one can argue that the two share equal importance when referring to what they add to Doc Rivers’ offense.
If the eye test didn’t convince you that the Clippers need Blake Griffin in order to combat the Warriors Steph Curry-led offense, the numbers will be surely do so. According to NBA Stats, the Clippers offense completely plummeted without Griffin. The field-goal percentage dropped 10 percent (48.5 to 38.5), the three-point percentage dropped 36 percent (66.7 to 30.8) and somewhat an overall summation of the two, offensive rating, dropping by nearly 50 points, from 136.6 to 84.9 in the 29 minutes. That’s the equation of going from the best offense in league history to, far and away, the worst in league history.
It’s not an excuse to say the Clippers lost because Blake Griffin sat. The numbers say his loss hurt the team in ways they couldn’t fix and the game was still close. It’d be cliche to say the pressure if on Griffin to dominate in Game 2, but it seems like all the pressure will be on NBA referees. Keeping this a tight series will destroy what us as fans wanted to see in the most anticipated first round series of the year.