After Chris Paul propelled them to a thrilling Game 7 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night, the Los Angeles Clippers were to make a quick turnaround and venture off to Houston to begin the second round of the playoffs against James Harden and the Rockets. Paul, who sustained a hamstring injury during Game 7, was to sit out Game 1 against Houston, so many anticipated a Rockets drubbing as the Clippers would be without their floor general and arguably their best player. However, that was not the case.
Blake Griffin went bonkers, dropping 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists in Paul’s absence as the Clippers grabbed a surprising 117-101 Game 1 win over the Rockets. Griffin did a superb job of shouldering a bulk of the ball-handling duties as Paul was strapped to the bench, and his 13 assists, 10 of which came in the 2nd half, illustrate that. His rebounding, as it’s been all postseason was stellar, and he proved to be a formidable scoring option in the half-court as the Clippers looked to manufacture offense without the Point Gawd on the floor.
In his first eight playoff games this year, Griffin has three triple-doubles, including two in a row. Griffin is the first player to accomplish that feat since Jason Kidd in 2002.
Blake Griffin: 1st player with back-to-back triple-doubles in postseason since Jason Kidd in 2002
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 5, 2015
Griffin has been incredible this postseason, and this monster performance couldn’t have come at a better time for the Clippers. It was believed that if Houston stomped Los Angeles in Game 1, it would put an immense amount of pressure on Chris Paul to return to the floor in Game 2 despite being hampered by that tender hamstring. But by snagging a victory in Game 1, the Clippers bought time for CP3, as he can now rest and get as healthy as possible for Game’s 3 and 4.