In many ways, it was inconceivable to think the Clippers could sustain such a high level of play in the playoffs.
At some point, you had to figure they would not be at their best, and that point was in Game 5 Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets had to be because they were facing elimination.
The Clippers didn’t have to be as desperate because they had the buffer of knowing they can close out the best-of-seven second-round series with a victory in Game 6 Thursday night at Staples Center.
To be sure, this will be the Clippers’ Game 7, because history would not be on their side if they have to return to Houston for Game 7 on Sunday.
Out of 119 Game 7s, the road team has won just 24. But the Clippers have a 3-2 lead and can finish off the Rockets.
The Clippers will have to improve their defense in Game 6. They allowed the Rockets to make 54.1% of their shots.
The Clippers will need more production out of their guard core. J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers shot a combined eight-for-33 from the field, three-for-18 from three-point range.
“A sense of desperation is really there for them and it really was a sense of desperation,” Griffin said. “We played [Tuesday] night like we had a couple of bullets in the chamber and we can’t do that. This is the difference in teams. You see teams close out games they should close out.”
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner