It was fun while it lasted, but Lob City has been sent packing.
It wasn't the prettiest victory—and they nearly blew it at the end—but as the cliche goes, "a win is a win."
The Spurs will now advance to their seventh Western Conference Finals in the Gregg Popovich-Tim Duncan era.
Tweets of the Night
Gregg Popovich employed the controversial "Hack-a-Shaq" technique in Game 3, but Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN didn't think it was too necessary:
The best argument against hacking Clippers right now is that they're pretty easy to defend.— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) May 21, 2012
Mo Williams just made a move I've only heard was possible from a spiritual yogi I met while hiking the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii!— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) May 21, 2012
Tim Duncan doesn't hesitate. He calculates.— Rob Mahoney (@RobMahoney) May 21, 2012
As the Clippers fought for their playoff lives, Grantland's Bill Simmons thinks they had some extra motivation:
Clippers are putting up a valiant/respectable/emotional fight to keep their season going for one day longer than the Lakers.— Bill Simmons (@sportsguy33) May 21, 2012
However, the tweet of the night goes to Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm. With Eric Bledsoe morphing into a destroyer of worlds in the fourth quarter, Moore summed up everyone's feelings:
Honestly. Calipari point guards, man.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 21, 2012
The highlight of the night goes to Blake Griffin and Mo Williams, as they basically defined the phrase "turning defense into offense." Unfortunately for the Clippers, highlights don't always translate to wins.
Grades for Key Clippers Players
Chris Paul: A
Chris Paul just did what Chris Paul does, orchestrating the offense and controlling the tempo of the game like only he can. He even made one of the most ridiculous shots I've ever seen, somehow getting the ball to roll in off the top of the backboard as he fell to the ground.
He finished with 23 points, 11 assists and six rebounds, but unfortunately he made a very costly turnover late and couldn't connect on a tough jumper that would have tied the game with under five seconds left.
Blake Griffin: B+
After a slow start to the game, Griffin came out with a vengeance in the second half. He scored 12 points in the third quarter alone and finished with 21 points. He had a few powerful dunks and even had a couple fancy post moves.
It will be very interesting to see how Griffin learns from the experience and adds to his game next season.
Grades for Key Spurs Players
Tim Duncan: A
Old Timmy once again dipped into the fountain of youth, using his usual array of hook shots, bank shots and mid-range jumpers to befuddle the Clippers. He even added one of his patented no-jump blocked shots, denying DeAndre Jordan in the third quarter.
If Duncan continues to play like this, I can't picture anybody beating the Spurs this postseason.
Tony Parker: B-
Parker was quiet for most of the game, but he delivered down the stretch, hitting back-to-back buckets in the final minutes.
He only shot 5-of-13 on the day and had more turnovers (six) than assists (five), but he did enough to get his team the win.
Game MVP: The Spurs' Bench
I hate to give out group MVPs, but the Spurs' second unit earned it with its hot shooting.
Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal and Manu Ginobili combined for 36 points after connecting on 14-of-23 field goals.
As the Clippers pack up their fishing gear, the Spurs will prepare themselves for the winner of the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers series.
OKC currently has a 3-1 lead in that series, with Game 5 coming on Monday.
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