Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs
March 29, 2013
5:30 p.m. PST
FOX Prime Ticket
After all the “sky is falling” reviews we’ve heard about the Clippers in 2013, a win Friday night would actually win the season series for them against the Spurs. The Clips already have one win in San Antonio this season – that back in November – and will go for a highly impressive third win in four tries against the Spurs this season. Now onto 3-on-3:
1. Why have the Clippers struggled with “elite” teams in 2013?
Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell, (@drew_48moh): I think part of it has to do with relying so much on Chris Paul. If a team game plans well for Paul and doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, the Clippers are beatable. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan can be taken advantage of defensively, as well.
Seerat Sohi, (@DamianTrillard): To be frank, it’s because they don’t play like an elite team. Despite a few dominant stretches and Chris Paul’s best efforts, the Clippers have too many lapses in focus and make too many errant mistakes to keep up with the elite teams for 48 minutes.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): It all starts with an over-dependence on one player. The Clippers are the only top-eight team that forces itself to rely on its best player as much as it does. If Blake Griffin isn’t going to be involved down the stretch of close games, Chris Paul – no matter how good he is – can’t always do it by himself against the best teams.
2. Chris Paul has been on a roll over his past few games. How do the Spurs contain him?
McNeill: Force him to shoot the ball more. The Spurs have always had success against Chris Paul led teams by taking away his options and making him a scorer as much as possible. Doing that throws a wrench into the preferred system for Paul.
Sohi: The Spurs guards generally do a great job of limiting point guard production by filtering them into spots where Tiago Splitter and Tim Duncan are waiting for them. Although, If Paul comes out playing as aggressively as he did in the fourth quarter of the Mavs game, or the majority of the Hornets game, I’m not sure there’s a defense in the league that can stop him.
Katz: In last year’s playoffs, the Spurs let Paul get into the lane and then immediately sent a double team. Granted, Paul was hurt, but the strategy worked well. He was more than contained. But in the simplest terms, if San Antonio turns him into a scorer and takes away his passing options, it can really limit what he’s able to do.
3. Who ya got? Clips or Spurs?
McNeill: While the Spurs defense has been solid over the past couple of weeks, they’ve had trouble taking care of the ball. Tony Parker’s not quite back to normal physically and Manu Ginobili is hit or miss. I’m going to say Clippers.
Sohi: Clippers. The Clippers know how badly they need this win. They haven’t defeated an elite team since winning on the road against the Hibbert-less Pacers. Not to mention, the Nuggets are just a half a game behind the Clippers in the standings
Katz: Spurs. This would be a remarkable road win for the Clips if they could pull it off, but winning twice in San Antonio in one year is hard – so hard that it’d be pretty crazy to predict it happening.