5 Ways the Los Angeles Clippers Can Guarantee a First-Round Win in 2014 NBA Playoffs

5 Ways the Los Angeles Clippers Can Guarantee a First-Round Win

Los Angeles Clippers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Playoffs begin Apr. 19, and the Los Angeles Clippers are heading in as one of the hottest teams in the league. Although final seeding hasn’t been determined yet, the Clippers will likely face the Golden State Warriors in the first round. Here are five ways the Clippers can guarantee they make it past the first round.

5. Feed The Big Men

Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

5. Feed The Big Men

Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are playing the best basketball of their careers. They are averaging career-highs across the board, but what is even more impressive is they have proven they can excel in the half-court game. Griffin still dominates the highlight reel, but he has transformed into a reliable jump shooter. Jordan is leading the league in rebounding and is great at cleaning up on the offensive glass.

4. Slow The Game Down

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Slow The Game Down

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers won most of their games this season by outscoring their opponents, but the game slows down considerably in the postseason. The Clippers could keep up with the Warriors, but it would behoove them to try and control the tempo. The Clippers will need to rely on their defense to carry them through the first round and beyond.

3. Shorten The Bench

Ryan Hollins, Hedo Turkoglu
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

3. Shorten The Bench

Ryan Hollins, Hedo Turkoglu
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers have one of the deepest benches in the league, which helped them stay afloat this season amidst a plethora of injuries. In the playoffs, however, you want your best players on the court for the majority of the game. Doc Rivers will need to find the right lineups, and a player’s minutes might be determined by specific matchups.

2. Shut Down The Other Team’s Star

Stephen Curry
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

2. Shut Down The Other Team’s Star

Stephen Curry
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

That's easier said than done, especially if that star is Stephen Curry. Rivers is a defensive-minded coach with championship experience, so if anyone knows how to do it, it’s him. Don’t be surprised to see Darren Collison and Paul playing a lot together in the backcourt with Collison drawing the assignment of guarding Curry.

1. Give The Ball To Paul

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

1. Give The Ball To Paul

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the career seasons Griffin and Jordan are having and despite the team’s depth, the success of the Clippers lies in the hands of superstar point guard Chris Paul. It's crucial for Paul to bring his "A" game every game and the rest of the team will look to him in big moments. It's up to him to lead the Clippers to the promised land.