Western Conference Semis Preview: LAC VS. SAS
And you can't blame them either. With a quick glance at the Clippers history, you see that they have spent numerous years in the cellar of the Western Conference and making awful lottery picks in order to cement their place at the bottom of the standings. Over the last few seasons, this team has undergone a transformation via the draft and trade, which has allowed them to quickly ascend the standings a year removed from finishing 32-50 and will most likely crown Neil Olshey, the Clipper GM, with the esteemed 'Executive of the Year' award.
The Clippers travelled to San Antonio after defeating the Grizzlies in Memphis on Sunday in Game 7. You would think Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had spectacular games, but you'd be wrong. The Clippers bench accounted for 25 of the team's 27 fourth quarter points - led by Eric Bledsoe, Kenyon Martin, Mo Williams and Nick Young. Rebounding had been one the main issues for the Clippers in their first round series, but Martin and Reggie Evans made certain L.A. won the battle Sunday, combining for 19 rebounds off the bench. In order for the Clippers to have a chance in San Antonio they will need to rebound the ball and limit their turnovers.
San Antonio was second in the NBA in regular season scoring and fourth in assists, leading them to the NBA's best record and almost a month without a loss. There is no doubt they are the hottest and deepest team in the league heading into this series, however, in these playoffs we have truly seen that anything can happen. The Spurs will definitely try to hold home court because they do not want to head to Los Angeles with this series tied. Any home court lapse can prove costly because this Clippers team has the depth and the youth to counter the Spurs in most aspects of the game, but the Spurs have the experience and coaching necessary to advance in the very deep Western Conference.
Chris Paul is looking to exact some sort of revenge on the Spurs as they outed him and the Hornets in 2007 en route to their fourth title in Game 7. Paul's competitiveness is well documented and very noticeable in his play and he will not allow his team to go down without a fight. The main factor here is that the Clippers are far more talented than Paul's 2007 Hornets and should pose a legitimate threat to the Spurs title hopes. If the Clippers can clean up their turnovers and defensive rebounding, they will almost assuredly provide the Spurs with more than a scare and could shock the NBA world once again, as they aim to continue to improve the Clippers image. The Spurs will most likely prove too deep this round and with home court advantage, the Clippers should not slow San Antonio's title aspirations.
Prediction: Spurs in 6