For those of you who haven’t seen the general preview, please check it out before reading this. This is meant to be a complete breakdown, position by postion, for the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers. So let’s get right to it, starting with the All-Stars from each team.
Tony Parker vs Chris Paul
This is a push as to which team is at an advantage. If you look purely at the numbers, Paul tops Parker in every single category. Take an in-depth look at Hollinger’s numbers per 40 minutes, and these two are still equal, except Paul’s PER is about five points higher than Parker. But taking a look at this season, Parker was called upon less than Paul to carry his team. Each player has their specialties. Parker excels at getting to the rim and scoring close, while Paul penetrates to pass. Defense wise, Paul is a little bit better than Parker, but will be giving up two inches and ten pounds to Parker.
Daniel Green vs Randy Foye
Neither of these players have quite lived up to their potential in the league so far, but Green has played well in his starting role and also has come off the bench nicely when called upon. Foye is a solid two guard, but his height is a big concern for the Clippers, where he gives up two inches to Green. Green is outside shooter (just ask Chris Paul when Green drilled the three to force overtime in the Spurs 103-100 win a few months ago) who can be a bit streaky at times. Foye, like his counterparts in the first round, didn’t have a great shooting series. Expect things to improve, but not too much.
Kawhi Leonard vs Caron Butler
Leonard gets the nod here because Butler has a broken hand that is going to limit his ability to play, no matter how good a player he is. Butler shot just 35% in the seven games versus the Grizzlies, and things might not improve with Leonard guarding him. Both players are similar in stature, with Butler coming in at three pounds heavier. Leonard’s long arms and excellent rebounding skills will give the Spurs a much needed help with Blake Griffin commanding the boards for the Clippers. Leonard doesn’t have to score much, but when he does, he can score in bunches. He put up 17 on Utah in game two on 6 of 7 shooting, including 3 of 4 from behind the line.
Boris Diaw vs Blake Griffin
Griffin’s knee could be the biggest question mark of this series. If his knee is not healthy enough to give it a go, that will be a major disappointment for Clipper nation. Diaw will more than likely draw the card to guard Griffin, and should be able to keep him in check at times. San Antonio may also elect to double Griffin, in which he will have to find the open shooter, something that he has struggled with at times. Diaw probably won’t score a whole lot, but if he can slow Griffin, that will be a huge plus for the Spurs.
Tim Duncan vs DeAndre Jordan
Duncan gives up ten pounds and twelve years to the younger Jordan, but he could take him to school this series. Duncan has an outside shot, which Jordan does not. Both players do well on the boards, but Jordan cannot shoot free throws. Duncan has improved this year, but still is not that great either. Defensively, Jordan comes up with monster blocks, but like his counterparts, struggled with staying focused. Duncan has lost a step, but Jordan without a quality post move should allow Duncan to keep up just fine. Jordan will have to find some offensive production for the Clippers to keep things close.
Spurs Bench vs Clippers Bench
Once again, no contest here. Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter, DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner, Stephen Jackson, Gary Neal, Patty Mills, I could go on and on about the Spurs bench being ready for this Clippers team. The Clippers have quality players, but their cohesiveness as a unit still struggles at times. The Spurs bench is so good not only for the fact that they play together, but each player knows his role and executes his task. San Antonio’s bench also carries quite a bit of the scoring load, while the Clippers may struggle to keep pace at times.
Gregg Popovich vs Vinny Del Negro
Is this really a contest either? Pops, one of the smartest coaches in the NBA, versus Del Negro, who was nearly fired mid-season. Popovich has kept his players healthy and fresh, while Del Negro is still trying to figure out how to substitute players. The Spurs have a huge advantage with Popovich at the helm.
I think the Spurs finish this one quick. Los Angeles may steal a game, and maybe even two, but the Spurs are too good and should handle “Lob City.”
Spurs 4 Clippers 1
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