The Clippers showed how scary they can be in a blowout win over the Cavaliers
A 113-94 beatdown of the defending champion Cavaliers was certainly one way for the Los Angeles Clippers to bounce back from a double-overtime loss to the lowly Brooklyn Nets. And in the same way that defeat exposed the Clippers at their very worst, Thursday night’s win in Cleveland showed this team at its very best — a real threat to a seemingly inevitable Warriors-Cavs Finals rematch.
The blowout win wasn’t always pretty, unfortunately. If you tuned in for tip-off, you know the first quarter brought with it a cacophony of whistles from the officials. For that, we can largely blame Blake Griffin, who’s playing the very best basketball of his life.
Over a sixty-second stretch in the opening frame, Griffin drew three fouls against the Cavs, earning two trips to the free-throw line. That’s kind of been his thing this season, with the Clippers forward averaging the second-most FTAs per 36 minutes in his career. For good measure, Griffin is making a career-best 77.4 percent of his free throws.
The better he gets, the more he’s forcing opponents to choose between practically tackling him on his way to the rim or giving up a demoralizing dunk. Want to hang back and dare him to make plays for others? No problem; Griffin is an outstanding (yet underrated) passer, as he demonstrated against Cleveland with 11 assists to go along with 13 points and five rebounds.
Maybe pump the brakes on those 3-pointers, though, Blake. Griffin’s taking one 3 per game but making just 22 percent of them. Meanwhile, J.J. Redick continues to get buckets from deep, knocking down 4-of-6 triples for 23 points in Thursday’s win, bringing his season average to over 45 percent…