Clippers draw defending champion Spurs in round No. 1

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Updated: April 17, 2015
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It’s NBA playoff time! What happened in the regular season is over and everyone is now aiming for a title. The first round of the playoffs features an interesting matchup between the sixth-seeded San Antonio Spurs (55-27) and the third-seeded Los Angeles Clippers (56-26).

This series is one nobody thought they would see in the first round, consisting of two teams that could have easily met in the Western Conference Finals. They split the regular-season series 2-2, and this could very well go seven games.

 

Clippers

The Clippers ended the season on a hot streak, winning 14 of their last 15 games. Head coach Doc Rivers is expecting a lot out of star point guard Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the postseason.

The Clippers’ offense is the best in the league at operating with precision. Paul, who had an MVP-like season, is facilitating on the court like no other and leading his team on a nightly basis. He’s averaging 10.2 assists per game, which is the most in the league. On the other end of those phenomenal passes are two very athletic big men in Griffin and Jordan.

Griffin leads the Clippers in scoring, recording 21.9 points per game, while Jordan is shooting 71 percent from the field and dominating the boards, averaging 15 rebounds per game. Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and J.J. Redick always help fill up the stat sheet for Los Angeles as well, especially with their outside shooting.

Though the Clippers are very efficient on offense, their defense isn’t the most reliable. The Clippers also don’t go too deep into their bench, which could prove to be an issue in this series. The Spurs are known for their efficiency on offense and could easily take advantage of the Clippers’ defensive weak links. With home-court advantage, look for a great matchup when the Spurs visit ‘Lob City’ in Game 1 this Saturday

 

Spurs

The Spurs won 14 of their last 16 games, and was just one victory away from locking up the the two-seed in the West. With a team full of veterans and a championship coach in Gregg Popovich, the Spurs will be out to prove they are better than ‘only’ a sixth seed.

The young Kawhi Leonard, who was last year’s NBA Finals MVP, looks to wreak havoc and lead his team to their sixth title since 1998. Leonard averages 16.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, but is surrounded by some of the most fundamental players in the league; Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. The older guys, Duncan and Parker, average 13.9 and 14.4 points per game, respectively. But through the playoff stretch, the Spurs will need players like Danny Green and Manu Ginobli to step up.

The Spurs are one of the best defensive teams in the league and you can expect that to be apparent throughout this series. San Antonio has proven to play well anywhere, but they’ll have to be great when they visit the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

 

Things to Note

The Spurs have already shown they are not above the hack-a-Jordan method. Everyone knows DeAndre only shoots 39.7 percent from the line, and they’ll likely implement that game-plan if they’re trailing late in games. In the last meeting between these two teams, Jordan attempted 28 total free throws — and made only 10 of them.

Clippers guard Austin Rivers is suffering from an illness and is listed as questionable for Game 1, while Spurs big man Tiago Splitter has been plagued by injuries and has not been listed as a ‘go’ yet for this series. 

 

Series Schedule 

Game 1: Sun, April 19 – San Antonio at L.A. Clippers 7:30 p.m.
Game 2: Wed, April 22 – San Antonio at L.A. Clippers 7:30 p.m.
Game 3: Fri, April 24 – L.A. Clippers at San Antonio 6:30 p.m.
Game 4: Sun, April 26 – L.A. Clippers at San Antonio 12:30 p.m.
Game 5 (if nec.): Tues, April 28 – San .0Antonio at L.A. Clippers
Game 6 (if nec.): Thurs, April 30 – L.A. Clippers at San Antonio
Game 7 (if nec.): Sat, May 2 – San Antonio at L.A. Clippers

 

PredictionSpurs 4-3, in what will be one of the most entertaining first-round series’ ever.

 

Photo Cred (Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Kelsey Holmes

Kelsey Holmes

Kelsey is an all-around writer for Sideline Sports Report. Her favorite sport to cover is football, and she would love to see the Dallas Cowboys win a Super Bowl in this decade. Kelsey is from Portsmouth, Virginia and a graduate of James Madison University.

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