Updated: May 16, 2012, 1:32 AM ET
Blake Griffin 7-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | -21

Griffin was more "give" than "take" against the Spurs. Despite seeing single coverage and lots of open floor to work with, Griffin just couldn't stay under control and balanced in the majority of his attempts in the post. There isn't a better mismatch on the floor than Griffin against Boris Diaw, but Griffin's failures to consistently score (and get back on defense) hurt the Clippers when they needed him most.

Chris Paul 3-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 10 AST | 6 PTS | -18

The poison has been chosen. The Spurs made it apparent right away that Chris Paul will not be allowed to beat them. On every pick-and-roll, Paul picked up an extra defender. On every drive to the rim, he found a zoned-up back line defense. Give the Spurs credit, but don't let Paul off the hook -- he made some brutal decisions with the ball.

Eric Bledsoe 10-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 23 PTS | -6

Paul might have struggled, but his understudy was brilliant. Eric Bledsoe's suffocating brand of defense has become dependable throughout the playoffs, but his offensive outburst and energy kept the Clippers in a game they had no business being in. Whether he was getting putback dunks or sticking open jumpers, Bledsoe was truly the only player on the floor for whom the Spurs had no answer.


The Spurs gave the Clippers a basic math lesson with their defensive strategy on Paul: Two is better than one. They rotated fresh defenders on Paul and always made sure no man was an island against one of the league's best isolation scorers. Offensively? Three is greater than two. The Spurs rode their perimeter shooting for an ultra-efficient offensive performance.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs performed as advertised in Game 1, exploiting nearly every advantage they had on the court with crisp ball movement and incredibly smart rotations. Call them old, boring, stale or whatever you want -- the Spurs are a machine that looks primed to steamroll the league. The Clippers will need more than the wrench that was Eric Bledsoe to stop their championship plans.

Grades by D.J. Foster