Preview: L.A. Clippers At San Antonio
When: 9:30 PM ET, Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
THE STORY: The Los Angeles Clippers have to hope that too much rest will slow the San Antonio Spurs, who enter their Western Conference semifinal series riding a 14-game winning streak. San Antonio swept the Utah Jazz and has had seven days off as it prepares to host the hobbled Clippers in Game 1. The Spurs tied for the league’s best home record (28-5), but Los Angeles won twice on the road in dispatching Memphis, including a victory in Game 7.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS: Despite injuries to All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Los Angeles won a decisive Game 7 after blowing a 3-1 series lead. A 27-point comeback in Game 1 set the tone for the Clippers, who got a great performance from their bench in closing out Memphis. Griffin, dealing with a sprained left knee, played fewer than two minutes in the final quarter. Paul (hip) and Caron Butler (fractured hand) also are hurt, so it’s imperative that Los Angeles continues to get strong production from its reserves against the league’s deepest and most balanced team. The Clippers won one of three meetings with the Spurs behind a season high-tying 36 points from Paul.
ABOUT THE SPURS: San Antonio had its streak of 100-point games stopped at 13 in its series-clinching win over the Jazz. Yet, that game also illustrated the daunting task awaiting the Clippers. The Spurs got quiet games from point guard Tony Parker and forward Tim Duncan, but nine players were on the floor for at least 20 minutes. San Antonio’s offensive efficiency has been off the charts – entering the final two games at Utah, the team had averaged more than 114 points during a 12-game stretch. The Spurs also feature a different look since they lost to Los Angeles at home on March 9, adding starting C Boris Diaw and high-scoring swingman Stephen Jackson.
1. Duncan, 36, who averages 19.3 points and 10.7 boards lifetime against the Clippers, is well-rested after playing in only six games since April 17.
2. Los Angeles nailed 14 3-pointers – seven by Mo Williams – in its last win over the Spurs. San Antonio was the league’s top-ranked team from behind the arc in the regular season at 39.3 percent.
3. Parker sat out the loss to the Clippers in March after lighting them up for 30 points one month earlier.
PREDICTION: Spurs 104, Clippers 93.