Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs: Game 5 preview

L.A. Times Clippers blogger Melissa Rohlin breaks down the matchup.

The Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs are tied in their first-round playoff series at 2-2, each team having won and lost a game on its home court. Game 5 is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Staples Center.

The Spurs routed the Clippers in Game 3, leading by as much as 37 points in their 100-73 victory on Friday. In that game, the Spurs outshot the Clippers from the field, 52.6% to 34.1%, and from beyond the three-point line, 41.7% to 26.1%.


The Clippers looked like a different team in Game 4, winning 114-105 on Sunday. In that game, the Clippers outshot the Spurs from the field, 54% to 44%. Chris Paul, who had more turnovers (six) than assists (four) and only made three of his 11 shots in Game 3, finished with a game-high 34 points on 11-for-19 shooting, seven assists and only two turnovers in Game 4.

In the series thus far, Blake Griffin is leading all players on both teams in assists (7.3 a game) and rebounds (13.3 a game). He's averaging more assists than Paul (six), who was the league leader in assists during the regular season. And he's averaging more rebounds during the playoffs than DeAndre Jordan (12.8), who was the league leader in rebounds during the regular season.

In Sunday's win, Griffin had 20 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists.

"Passing is always a point of emphasis, but I think defense and rebounding are two of the biggest things I've locked in on for this series," Griffin said Monday.

On Monday, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said the Clippers and the Spurs are two evenly matched teams. When he was asked how he plans to get his team to come out for Game 5 with the same mentality they had in Game 4, Rivers shook his head.

"We have to play even better, I really believe that," Rivers said. "They're going to."

Game 6 is scheduled for Thursday in San Antonio. Game 7, if necessary, is set for Saturday in Los Angeles.