In the playoffs, first matchups are often nothing more than just competitive shootarounds. Sure, on the rare occasion, Mt. Mutombo will shock the Sonics…. but how often does that really; happen? Still, every year, everyone is looking for that one big upset. The one big dawg gets toppled, because they’ve overlooking the scrub in front of them, or are just underachievers that find a way to go into the tank when it matters. Most.
This year’s upset special was supposed to be Clippers v. Blazers. This was the matchup that virtually every tweeter, and every hoops blogger had dog-eared as their upset special.
And I get it – Damian Lillard’s hand gets so hot, he can win a series all by himself. And Blake Griffin was still knocking the rust off after melting down and trying to knock the asst. equipment manager’s head off. I get the pick. But the Clips obviously didn’t get the memo. Or maybe they did, and Doc Rivers showed it to them. Because they just popped open a can on Portland.
Credit to the Clip Show- for a team that’s had some horrible moments in the playoffs- Game 1 was lights-out-get-the-hell-out-of-our-house stuff.
And Griffin? He did to the rim what he did to that towel dude’s face. That was the Griffin from 2010. That was jump-over-a-KIA in obnoxious corporate tie-in Griffin.
I remember those Clippers. Fast, loose, falling out of the sky and CP3 looking like a mean SOB. If Chris Paul is treating this matchup against Lillard as a personal challenge to his manhood – that’s a great thing for the Clippers. Because he’s obviously one of those dudes who can play angry. And considering Lillard isn’t in his banana boat friendship circle with LeBron, Paul was in full Wake Forest Go mode. Chirping before shots, after shots… even DURING shots.
And much of the same folks who were calling for the upset before Game 1, have now changed up and golf clapping the rolling up the 5 seed at home; saying it would be very Clipper of them to win this series: a low stakes match up against a B level team that’s not named the Warriors or Spurs.
Look- I get that. Some of that is actually right. They’ve won this series before. A team this loaded who’s been here this many times doesn’t get a banner for a first round blowout. There is no parade for dunking on Portland. But it was the best they’ve looked in weeks, and it was the first time Griff actually looked like Griff in 2016.
Look, it’s just one game. I’m not saying the Clippers are going to win a title. Or even this series. But again, this was supposed to be the Upset Series, and if LA runs like that – it’s going to be a short series.
Give it to them dudes- they earned it: “Turn up, love you guys, awesome.”
This post brought to you by Jim Rome.