Spurs vs Clippers
There are few potential series more compelling than Spurs/Clippers. After a solid regular season and momentum from their first round playoff win over the Grizzlies the Clippers ran into a buzzsaw in the Spurs. They’ve come a long way since then and have upgraded the roster significantly. The Spurs are the Spurs though, lead by the best coach in basketball with a typical Spurs roster of savvy vets and solid role players.
The Season Series: Poised and motivated to exact revenge from the playoff series sweep the Clippers dominated the Spurs in their first two matchups, two very early season games. The first game at the Staples Center was a twenty-two point Clippers win behind huge games from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers had thirty-seven combined points off the bench from (Bledsoe, Barnes and Crawford) and shot 55% as a team. Tony Parker had s subpar game for the Spurs.
They met back up a week later in San Antonio where the Clippers prevailed by seven. The Clippers were victorious despite making only one three point shot, with overall scoring balance and a strong defensive effort holding the Spurs to a season low 35% from the field.
Coming off of the All Star break San Antonio was motivated get the momentum back and did just that winning by twenty-six in LA. The Spurs came out of the break rested and firing on all cylinders led by Tony Parker who had thirty-one points, besting Chris Paul who had perhaps his worst game of the year. It was an overall dreadful night for the Clippers who finished at a paltry 42% from the field.
Key Matchup for the Clippers: DeAndre Jordan. Lob City needs to be in full effect to knock off the Spurs. With Tim Duncan still extremely effective but aging the combination of Griffin/Jordan needs to exert their energy, passion and athleticism. Kawhi Leonard is a solid player but still young and inexperienced. Jordan has a decided size and quickness advantage. They need Jordan to hit the boards and attack the room with fury.
Key Matchup for the Spurs: As the season series showed it’s all about Tony Parker. The Spurs are still a deep veteran laden team, but they rely more and more on Tony Parker. If he’s able to get into the lane and score easy baskets he can open up the offense for Duncan, Ginobili and the rest of the Spurs perimeter shooters. If Chris Paul can best Parker and win the point guard battle the Clippers will be in good shape.
Home Court Advantage: If they meet the Spurs will have home court advantage and are a powerful 30-4 at home this season. Winning in San Antonio during the regular season is one thing, a win there during the postseason is a whole different matter. If and when these teams meet its important for the Clippers to get an early victory in San Antonio to bring momentum back to Staples.
Health: Both teams are in solid shape health-wise.
Prediction: People have predicted the demise of the Spurs for the last few years. The “window of opportunity” is a big thing in professional sports. Whereas the Spurs window is slowly closing (with Ginobili and Duncan aging) the Clippers window is just opening up. Teams often have to take their lumps and lose a series like the Clips did last year in order to up their game to the next level. They have upped their game this year. The Clippers have the superior roster and bench. They also win a tough point guard battle. It won’t be easy but the Clippers will prevail.
Clippers in 7
Health: Both teams are relatively healthy.
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