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  1. #1
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    Personally, I wanted the Grizzlies. Knowing how competitive the Spurs are and how much they hated last year's series against Memphis, I'm confident that San Antonio also wanted the Grizzlies. (In case you missed in, due to a bout of premature epostulation, I wrote out why I thought the Spurs would sweep the Grizzlies.)

    With the Clippers digging deep and grinding out a Game 7 win in Memphis, we're now set for a Spurs versus Clippers second round matchup. While I still think the Spurs will beat the Clippers and advance to the 2012 Western Conference, I'm not nearly as confident that this will be an easy series.

    As I continue to ponder my final prediction, here are the areas that are giving me reason to recalibrate my enthusiasm.

    Letdown Likely
    Against the Grizzlies, there was no way the Spurs were going to come out not ready to play. The Game 1 loss last year turned out to be the difference so there was no doubt in my mind that San Antonio would be ready to rumble from the first possession. But now against the Clippers, I'm not so sure. Everyone knows L.A. has three starters dealing with injuries in Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Caron Butler. The Spurs were surely watching as the Clippers looked underwhelming for a majority of the Memphis series. Add in the long layoff and I think a letdown early in the series is inevitable.

    Steve Nash Redux
    The last time the Spurs were in the second round, they faced off against a superstar point guard who was supposedly slowed by a hip injury. If you remember correctly, Steve Nash was an injury question mark back in 2010 when he was just 4-for-12 with 12 turnovers in the final two games of Phoenix's first round series against Portland. Thinking Nash was hobbled, the Spurs decided to try to let Nash beat them ... and Nash more than obliged. He exploded for 33 points on 13-for-19 shooting to go along with ten assists in the Game 1 victory for the Suns that set the stage for the sudden sweep. Fast forward to today and itís another superstar point guard that is dealing with a hip injury in Chris Paul. In the last three games of the Grizzlies series, Paul averaged only 16.3 points and five assists. I, for one, hope the Spurs don't tempt the existence of deja vu by daring Paul to beat them in Game 1. That didnít work out too well last time.

    Small Guards Galore
    Perhaps the biggest weakness of San Antonio's defense is the ability to defend small guards. Outside of Tony Parker, there's no one on the team who is above average at defending such players. More bluntly, everyone else is either bad or really bad at defending small guards. Unfortunately, the Clippers have four small guards who can play in Chris Paul, Eric Bledsoe, Mo Williams and Randy Foye. When Parker is on the bench, Gary Neal is going to be a major defensive liability no matter who he's defending. Manu Ginobili has done a much better job defending size than speed this season. In this series, Ginobili is going to be forced to defend smaller, quicker players who can score. If you've been following along this season, you know that's not a good thing.

    Battle Tested
    Heading into the second round, the Clippers are about as battle tested as humanly possible. They climbed out of a huge deficit in Game 1. They won close, hard fought contests in Game 3 and Game 4. And following the disappointment of losing Game 6 at home, the Clippers showed an amazing amount of resiliency by bouncing back and winning Game 7 on the road. The Spurs, on the other hand, have had clear sailing for more than a month now. As good as San Antonio is right now, there's no way to classify this team as battle tested.

    Elite Offense
    We know the Spurs had the NBA's most efficient offense, but the Clippers are elite in their own right. They were fourth in the league in offensive efficiency, averaging 108.5 points per 100 possessions. The Clippers were also the league's second least turnover-prone team Ė one spot ahead of San Antonio. If the Spurs get in a shootout with the Clippers, Los Angeles has enough firepower to put up a fight. In fact, that's exactly what happened the last time these two teams met. There was a shootout and the Clippers beat the Spurs in the AT&T Center by a final score of 120-108.

    Pick-and-Roll Frenzy
    As much as Tim Duncan has turned back the clock this season, he's still 36-years-old and he's still a below average defender of the pick-and-roll on most nights. Against the Clippers, Duncan is going to be forced to defend against pick-and-roll sets more than 40 times per game. That won't be easy and it could wear him down as the series progresses. If Blake Griffin is limited due to injury, that will just mean even more pick-and-rolls for Duncan to defend.

    Combustible Shooters
    The Spurs have had issues with opponents catching fire from long range. Look no further than the last time these two teams faced off when Mo Williams erupted for 33 points on 7-for-9 three-point shooting. Against the Jazz, the Spurs didn't have to worry about losing games due to poor perimeter defense. Against the Grizzlies, the Spurs could have again been confident that they'd win a jumpshooting contest. However, these Clippers have a gaggle of explosive shooters. From Mo Williams to Randy Foye to Nick Young to Chris Paul, L.A. has players who can beat you if your perimeter defense is lax.

    Snail's Pace
    These aren't your older brother's Spurs. These Spurs like to get out and run. Not only do the Spurs run for easy buckets, they run to create mismatches that they can then exploit in their early-offense sets. The bad news is that the Clippers are going to splash some cold water on that strategy. Not only are they the slowest paced team still alive in the playoffs, Paul is without question the game's best player at controlling the pace of games. In the regular season, the Clippers played at a pace of 91.8 possessions per game. To beat the Grizzlies, they dropped that number to under 90. The Spurs, conversely, averaged 95.1 possessions per game and they've played at the league's fastest pace so far in the playoffs. However, it's going to be next to impossible to speed up this series with Paul at the helm of the Clippers. And that's unfortunate because the Spurs have lost only one time since Feb. 22 in games that have had at least 95 possessions.

    Depth Matched
    Against almost every team in the NBA, the Spurs have a decided advantage when it comes to depth; San Antonio rolls ten deep and there's nary a letdown when the bench unit is on the court. Keyword: Almost. The Clippers very well could be the only exception to that statement still alive in the championship race. They too have ten players who can contribute on a nightly basis. In Game 7 against the Grizzlies, their bench of Eric Bledsoe, Mo Williams, Nick Young, Reggie Evans and Kenyon Martin basically won the game by playing remarkably well down the stretch. As good as San Antonio's bench is right now, it would be a tall order to ask them to duplicate what the Clippers bench did to eliminate Memphis. Since rest will be at a premium in this upcoming series, L.A.'s reserves are going to be even more important than usual. Expect ten on ten action -- which is something you almost never see in the playoffs.

    Best Closer
    There's a lot of talk about who the best closer is in the NBA. While there are a lot of great players in this league who step up in money time, I think Paul is the most dangerous all-around threat late in the game. He steps up under pressure and can beat you with a shot or a pass. The stats agree: in the clutch, Paul averaged more than 40 points and eight assists per 48 minutes. He was also far more productive in fourth quarters than any other quarter. In a close playoff game, he's not a guy you want to see on the opposing team, to say the least.

  2. #2
    Ur a fkn wanker Venti Quattro's Avatar
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    Blake and Chris are hurt. Why wouldn't you want the Clippers more?
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  3. #3
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    Blake and Chris are hurt. Why wouldn't you want the Clippers more?
    Steve Nash was even more hurt. That didn't work out too well for the Spurs.

  4. #4
    Damn You Commies T Park's Avatar
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    Those are 10 big kicks to the nuts...
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  5. #5
    Damn You Commies T Park's Avatar
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    I think those Suns a couple years ago had a better team around Nash however. Paul doesnt have a career year Channing Frye, nor an Amare Stoudamire who when healthy was better than Blake Griffin.

    That said, I think Griffin's health is more of a detriment than Paul's.

  6. #6
    The Golden God Mugen's Avatar
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    The only things that really concern me are the Small Guards & Outside shooting.

    Duncan in the PnR doesn't concern me as much because the Clippers dont have a big that can shoot outside of 5ft and force Duncan to switch onto the perimeter like Frye, ZBo, or even Marc Gasol.

    You need to check out that Worst Matchups for the Spurs thread again tbh

  7. #7
    A neverending cycle Trainwreck2100's Avatar
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    Alot of the series will come down to Spurs 3 point shooting, the best 3 point shooting team facing the worse three point shooting defense left in the playoffs. As much as you want to talk about being battle tested the Clippers didn't have to worry about that against Memphis because they were horrible from distance
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  8. #8
    The Dude minds DPG21920's Avatar
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    I'm not concerned because of execution. Memphis didnt make LA pay for their undisciplined play. While the Clips have solid defensive big men, they will surrender looks after the initial pass. Those are both key items SA has over Memphis.

    LA has proven to be resilient, but this has the feel of a team that sighs the sigh of relief since they reached their goal.

  9. #9
    Motivation for me... Stringer_Bell's Avatar
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    The only dude that can possibly catch fire other than CP3 is Mo Williams, and even then it's not enough to slow us down.

  10. #10
    <><><><><><> ALVAREZ6's Avatar
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    Spurs have way more experience, the Clippers haven't done shit in the playoffs. More experienced players and coach. The Spurs are too smart for the Clippers, I think Spurs in 5. This Spurs team is yet to peak.
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  11. #11
    '99/'03/'05/'07 MmP's Avatar
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    Im much more concerned now than i was yesterday this series wont be easy. paul is not gonna be injured the whole series neither griffin

  12. #12
    Believe. DontStopBelieving's Avatar
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    The only dude that can possibly catch fire other than CP3 is Mo Williams, and even then it's not enough to slow us down.
    I recall Randy Foye killing us this year tbh.

  13. #13
    <><><><><><> ALVAREZ6's Avatar
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    ^Foye is a scrub and you should not worry.

  14. #14
    Good to Great
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    (In case you missed in, due to a bout of premature epostulation, I wrote out why I thought the Spurs would sweep the Grizzlies.)

    Battle Tested
    Heading into the second round, the Clippers are about as battle tested as humanly possible. They climbed out of a huge deficit in Game 1. They won close, hard fought contests in Game 3 and Game 4. And following the disappointment of losing Game 6 at home, the Clippers showed an amazing amount of resiliency by bouncing back and winning Game 7 on the road. The Spurs, on the other hand, have had clear sailing for more than a month now. As good as San Antonio is right now, there's no way to classify this team as battle tested.
    So you wanted the Spurs to go another round without getting challenged?

  15. #15
    I want some NASTY! SpurPadre's Avatar
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    my biggest fear is TP getting caught up in a one-on-one game vs. Paul and forgeting to play team ball. I just know Paul is gonna try to bait him into it, too.

  16. #16
    <><><><><><> ALVAREZ6's Avatar
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    As a Spur fan you cannot be worried about this series, because if they win, they will have a tougher opponent in the WCF. The Thunder and Lakers are both tougher teams to beat than the Clippers.

  17. #17
    Bend the knee Spurs da champs's Avatar
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    Mo Williams is the one who went off on us, but I'm honestly thinking that Patty should get some spot up minutes because I see Gary getting burned very badly by Bledsoe or Williams.
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  18. #18
    Veteran
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    It will be tougher than Jazz. But still easier than OKC or LAL. If we can't beat LAC, then we don't deserve a championship.

  19. #19
    A neverending cycle Trainwreck2100's Avatar
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    It will be tougher than Jazz. But still easier than OKC or LAL. If we can't beat LAC, then we don't deserve a championship.
    If they can't beat the Clippers then they will be eliminated.

  20. #20
    Get Refuel! FromWayDowntown's Avatar
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    The only dude that can possibly catch fire other than CP3 is Mo Williams, and even then it's not enough to slow us down.
    Nick Young says hi.

    2:47.0 N. Young makes 3-pt shot from 24 ft (assist by C. Paul) +3 87-96

    2:15.0 N. Young makes 3-pt shot from 24 ft (assist by C. Paul) +3 90-96

    1:47.0 N. Young makes 3-pt shot from 24 ft (assist by C. Paul) +3 93-96

  21. #21
    Go Spurs Go!! dbreiden83080's Avatar
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    Game 1 will be interesting.. Clips may be beat to shit mentally as much as physically and need a game to get into the series. So Spurs need to jump all over them at home and get up 2-0. They get up 2-0 and the series is over IMO..

  22. #22
    Go Spurs Go!! dbreiden83080's Avatar
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    2 great offenses so if this is a shoot-out i take the Spurs. We have more weapons...

  23. #23
    🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 ElNono's Avatar
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    Nonsense. The Paul vs Nash comparison just doesn't fly, because Nash had no problem switching between assist man and massive scorer. CP3 isn't that guy. He can put up points on a given night, but you can't ask him to carry the load night it and night out.

    Add to that the fact that Nash was surrounded by simply better talent for that kind of game (Amare for the pick and roll, Grant Hill and Jason Richardson for the mid-range and Frye acting as the stretch 4). They also had hustle guys off the bench in Admunson and Dudley. And the Spurs was still a very limited team with Roger Mason and Keith Bogans off the bench. Suns also had home court advantage.

    Furthermore, unlike the Memphis series, he will have to cover a quick guy like Tony. No more walking around following a slow footed guy like Conley Jr.

    As I pointed out in another thread, the Spurs will have to be very careful to defend the 3 point shot. Guys like Mo Williams, Foye and Young can catch fire rather quickly. The Clipps look big inside with guys like DJ, Griffin and KMart, but they're low basketball IQ players that shouldn't require more than single cover. There's no reason for the Spurs to start leaving shooters open.

    Lastly, the Clipps are riding the high note from game 7. If the Spurs can smack them back down to earth in Game 1, this might end up being a fairly quick series.

    Spurs simply have the much better talent, depth, execution, coaching, and home court advantage. In some areas the difference is actually abysmal (execution, coaching).

    Spurs are due for a letdown though, so I think 5 games is reasonable.
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  24. #24
    Bend the knee Spurs da champs's Avatar
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    Nonsense. The Paul vs Nash comparison just doesn't fly, because Nash had no problem switching between assist man and massive scorer. CP3 isn't that guy. He can put up points on a given night, but you can't ask him to carry the load night it and night out.

    Add to that the fact that Nash was surrounded by simply better talent for that kind of game (Amare for the pick and roll, Grant Hill and Jason Richardson for the mid-range and Frye acting as the stretch 4). They also had hustle guys off the bench in Admunson and Dudley. And the Spurs was still a very limited team with Roger Mason and Keith Bogans off the bench. Suns also had home court advantage.

    Furthermore, unlike the Memphis series, he will have to cover a quick guy like Tony. No more walking around following a slow footed guy like Conley Jr.

    As I pointed out in another thread, the Spurs will have to be very careful to defend the 3 point shot. Guys like Mo Williams, Foye and Young can catch fire rather quickly. The Clipps look big inside with guys like DJ, Griffin and KMart, but they're low basketball IQ players that shouldn't require more than single cover. There's no reason for the Spurs to start leaving shooters open.

    Lastly, the Clipps are riding the high note from game 7. If the Spurs can smack them back down to earth in Game 1, this might end up being a fairly quick series.

    Spurs simply have the much better talent, depth, execution, coaching, and home court advantage. In some areas the difference is actually abysmal (execution, coaching).

    Spurs are due for a letdown though, so I think 5 games is reasonable.
    You're very ignorant, 1st off Steve Nash is the guy who had problems alternating between assist man & scorer, not Chris Paul just look at his last series. Also @ thinking Mike Conley is slow footed this was the same guy who was giving Tony trouble last season.

    But I agree with the rest of what you, but man you're underrating Chris Paul big time!

  25. #25
    Danger Will Robinson! GSH's Avatar
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    As always, the points are valid and well put. The one thing I think is worth noting is that when the Spurs lost to the Clippers back in early March, their starting lineup was: Gary Neal, Danny Green, Richard Jefferson, Duncan, and Blair. And while giving up 36 to Paul was a problem, the real killer was giving up 33 to Mo Williams, who went 7-9 from the 3P line. Well - that and going 20-32 from the FT line that night.

    If the Griz had won today, they would be a confident team who had come back from a 3-1 deficit. The Clips are a team who almost blew a 3-1 deficit, and just managed to get a win in one of the ugliest games of the season. Other than the fact that they advanced, they don't have a lot of cause to be confident.

    My biggest concern is Game 1. It always makes for a tough series when you lose that first one at home, and the Spurs have every possibility of showing some rust. That's my concern, but I don't think it's going to happen. The addition of Diaw and Jackson, plus the subtraction of Jefferson make this a MUCH better team than the one that lost to the Clippers on March 9. That, plus the presence of Tony Parker - especially since he's healthy and rested.

  26. #26
    I want some NASTY! SpurPadre's Avatar
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    If TP doesn't get caught up with trying to upstage Paul, we will sweep the Paper Clips, in my opinion. Experience, discipline, forcing Blake to shoot jumpers, and transition D will be the keys...and having a Big 3 be the Big 3 against their Big 2. It should be a gimme...but TP can make it much, much harder if he gets baited by Paul.

  27. #27
    A neverending cycle Trainwreck2100's Avatar
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    . Also @ thinking Mike Conley is slow footed this was the same guy who was giving Tony trouble last season.

    !
    Tony playing in his usual playoff mode gave Tony trouble last year

  28. #28
    The Dude Buddy Holly's Avatar
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    Why does LJ keep bringing up Nash and the 2010 series? The Spurs had a crappy bench, a shitty Hill and an even shittier Jefferson. This years Spurs team would sweep those Suns and I'm not kidding.

  29. #29
    Defend The Title crc21209's Avatar
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    CP3 always has been, and always will be a tough cover for the Spurs. That I give them, they also have a very good bench. But the advantage the Spurs have is their post play. Duncan, Splitter, and Diaw can all play with their back to the basket, while Griffin is VERY limited offensively, Jordan and Evans is mainly a rebounder/defender, and K-Mart may be the only guy who can pop a 15 foot jumper. Spurs in 5....

  30. #30
    Steele Curtain cherylsteele's Avatar
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    The Clippers haven't played the Spurs since they have acquired Sjax, Diaw, and since then the defense has steady improved, and the offense is even more balanced, and to top it off the one game the Clippers did win this year, Tony did not play.

    The Clippers' offense is overrated IMO, 17 asst on 33 fg made
    The Spurs are much more efficient 22.5 asst/34 fg made, during the playoffs.

    The Clippers' ball movement is subpar, and they rely too much on their athleticism, and they are not as fundamentally sound as the Spurs.

    The Spurs in 5 at the most, barring injuries.
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