SAN ANTONIO – When the practice session was over, guard Nick Young headed straight to the dentist for a root canal.
His Clipper teammate Chris Paul came out of the video review of Game 1 feeling like he’d already had one, minus the Novocain.
“We have to limit the turnovers and me personally make a few shots,” Paul said, having connected on just 3-of-13 from the field and scored only six points in the series opener. “Out of 16 turnovers, I had five of them.”
Paul didn’t blame the Clippers shortcomings in the 108-92 loss on anyone but himself and said his nagging groin injury was not a reason.
“We played hard last night, but we didn’t play effective,” he said. “It’s probably me. I didn’t play effective, so I’ve got to come out and have a better game.
“Just plays I wish I could have back. One of them was a travel in the lane. I felt like the ball slipped out of my hand. I threw a bad pass to Reggie (Evans) when I got in the air. I probably should have shot it. I threw a bad pass to Bled (Eric Bledsoe) between his legs. I remember all of them.”
The Clippers, more than any team left in the playoffs, are reliant on their one key cog to fuel their success. Though he handed out 10 assists on Tuesday night, Paul missed all seven shots he tried in the second half and never took control of the game the way he did at critical points in L.A.’s first-round series win over Memphis.
While it was a bright spot to get 23 points from backup point guard Bledsoe and 3-for-3 shooting from long range by Young, the Clippers are going no farther without Paul’s leadership and he said he might have found a reason for coming up short in the opener. Did he push too hard in the step up in class against San Antonio? Did he shoulder too much of the burden to set a tone in Game 1.
“It’s trying to do too much,” he said.
Less is more. The new CP3 motto.