MF – What were your thoughts after 128-95 in Game 4? Series over, or were you more reserved?
LM – When I helped the Podium Game with their preview of this series, I thought it was going 7. A series isn’t over just because a team goes up 3-1. And the Clippers know this better than most teams. After all, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan were in red and blue blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Memphis Grizzlies just three years ago. It’s the playoffs. You can’t expect your opponent to quit!
I’m sure we have differing opinions, but that fourth quarter in Game 6 was awesome. The Clips looked gassed, but Josh Smith also looked like LeBron…Did you see it as more meltdown, or more comeback?
I thought it was awesome as well. It was incredible. So many narratives burned in flames in that fourth quarter, and it was glorious to watch. The Rockets won that game. Doc Rivers made the point after the game: it doesn’t matter that the Clippers went decomposed bone cold offensively in the last six minutes of the game if they defend like champs. The Rockets dropped 40 points in that fourth quarter. They out-rebounded the Clippers 21-5! The Rockets took it from the Clippers. I’m focusing on that incredible effort more than LA’s choke job. Again, it’s the playoffs. It’s about winning games, and the Rockets were big winners Thursday night.
I cant remember who said Blake Griffin has been the best player in the playoffs so far (Jon Berry?), but I have to say that I agree. It always seemed like before he only played this way when CP3 missed time. Has this playoffs been a new level for Blake Griffin, or is this where he’s been and I just haven’t noticed?
Man, Blake Griffin is a few less fourth quarter brain cramps from shutting this entire postseason down. I was an early defender of the Blake Show when folks went out of their way to simplify his game (“All he does is dunk”), and a part of that faction loved to used Chris Paul as a reason why Griffin was overrated, as if he didn’t hop Kia’s in his ROY season. But while Griffin has always had the skill, his effectiveness has indeed reached a new level in these playoffs. He’s had triple doubles with and without Paul on the floor. He’s hit the glass harder and hit the paint harder. His game definitely went from the sustainable regular season approach to the necessary dog you need to win in the spring. But … he needs another game or the ignorance will continue, at least on some level.
What’s Austin Rivers’ deal? Rockets fans just went through this with Al Farouq Aminu going all Ron Artest on us in Round 1, and now Rivers is Jamal Crawford 2.0? WTF?
Well, in all the hate that Austin Rivers gets, people lose track of the fact that the kid is only 22 years old. He’s had a rough start to his career, and he’s not the most fun player to watch when he’s at his worst. He doesn’t lack skill, as the Rockets and Spurs found out. But Rivers’ jumper is the difference between him being useful or a liability. He made 10-of-18 threes in Games 1-4, but he has regressed sharply towards the mean in Games 5 and 6 (1-of-8).
Coming back from down 3-1 to win a series is old hat for Houston. What’s the general feeling for Clippers fans heading into Game 7? How much do you fear Clutch City at this point?
I feel like Clippers fans are caught between feeling sorry for themselves and staying optimistic. With all due respect, it’s not even about the Houston Rockets at this point. The Clippers had control, and now they don’t. But they still have a chance to do what they need to do. Clippers fans have been here before as well. The Clippers are the only team to win a Game 7 this postseason (since they are the only one to play in one). So it’s more just wondering if the Clippers take care of business in one game. None of the other stuff matters as much once Game 7 tips off!