Behind the scenes of NBA arenas there is an area or room designated as a Chapel. Its a peaceful place where players from both teams are able to join hands and pray together. Whether you are religious or not, its obvious that this is a positive ritual where competition is put to the side and athletes become human.
On November 1, 2013, the Los Angeles Clippers refused to have Chapel services with the Golden State Warriors.
Game 1 did not disappoint as the Warriors were able to steal home court advantage and sneak past the Clippers with a four point victory. Blake Griffin might as well have stayed home as he fouled out in the fourth quarter after only being on the court for 19 minutes.
Chris Paul was able to contain Steph Curry but both Klay Thompson, with 22 points and David Lee, with 20 points and 13 rebounds stepped up and filled the scoring void. A speculative call and a rare turnover from Paul made the Clips’ lose for the first time this season when entering the fourth quarter with a lead.
Game 2 saw L.A. start the game with a different attitude. Doc Rivers said after the game, “tonight we played like were capable of playing”, and he was exactly right. The leagues highest scoring team went on to set a franchise record for most points at 138 and largest margin of victory with 40.
Griffin was able to adjust to how the refs were calling the game and proved to be much more effective scoring a game high 35 points. Paul’s tenacious defense shut down Curry again and officially got into his head as Curry threw his mouth piece at the scorers table after taking a hard foul.
Game 3 goes down tonight as the teams head to northern California level at 1-1. The crowd at Oracle Arena are some of the most passionate fans the NBA has to offer and will provide an incredible atmosphere for their Warriors.
Golden State may have the home court advantage but the Clippers have Blake Griffin. Griffin is a top five player and if you disagree you need to watch more basketball. Long gone are the days of people saying all he can do is dunk. The NBA playoffs are about superstars single-handedly taking over games and it is Griffins time to shine.
As good as Griffin is, he’s still the second best player in his team. Chris Paul is the best player on the court and pound for pound the best player in the league. Paul is the x-factor of this series and the Clippers will only go as far as he takes them.
Deandre Jordan can do too much damage in the paint for the Clippers with the absence of injured Andrew Bogut. Blake Griffin will take the next step and enter next year in the MVP conversation.