Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs
7:30 p.m. PST
December 16, 2013
FOX Prime Ticket
1. Where does Saturday night’s game rank among Chris Paul’s best games of the season?
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): Saturday night’s game was Paul’s second-best game of the season, which says a lot. There’s almost no way he can top his 42-point, 15-assist, six-steal performance against the Warriors on Halloween. That might end up the best individual performance all season.
Seerat Sohi, (@DamianTrillard): A few early-season games come to mind. I’d put it right behind the ones against Denver and Golden State. I said it in Last Call and I’ll say it again: Paul was astronomical. Instead of quibbling over which game was better, I’d rather take a second to appreciate the fact that we get to watch this guy play basketball 82 times a year.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): It’s got to be second, behind the Golden State game earlier this year, when Paul was just another species of basketball player. Saturday’s game, though, was only the ninth time since 1985-86 that a player has had 38-or-more points on 14-or-fewer shots. Paul only the fourth guard to do it (along with Reggie Miller, Magic Johnson, and Rolando Blackman). And he did it with the least amount of free-throw attempts of those nine players. Not bad for game seven of a seven-game road trip.
2. How close is Tony Parker to Paul on the point guard hierarchy?
Buha: I don’t think he’s that close, but I’m probably biased. Parker is the more consistent scorer, but he’s not capable of taking over a game offensively the way Paul can. Paul is also the better defender, despite his occasional lapses. I think Parker is in the second tier of point guards with Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry.
Sohi: If Saturday’s game was any indication, there’s Chris Paul and then there’s everyone else. No two point guards are as much of a boon to their offense but Paul’s consistently been ahead of the game.
Katz: Well, we know Paul is No. 1 and then everyone else falls behind him in some order. Healthy Russell Westbrook and healthy Derrick Rose might get the nod over Parker. If you like shooters, maybe you’ll take Steph Curry, as well. But in terms of importance to his own team’s offense, Paul and Parker are probably at the top of the list.
3. What is the Spurs’ biggest weakness?
Buha: Closing out Finals games, apparently. Too soon? Sorry, but I had to get them back for sweeping the Clippers in the 2012 playoffs. As the Clippers showed last season in their two wins against the Spurs, their front court athleticism can give Duncan and Splitter fits. With half their wing rotation out, the Clippers need season-best performances from Griffin and Jordan.
Sohi: For a team that’s leading the league in net rating, the Spurs are pretty bad at… crashing the glass for second chance points… because they choose not to. It’s all relative with this team. If anything can slow San Antonio down, it’s injuries.
Katz: In terms of matching up with the Clippers, it’s probably frontcourt athleticism. Neither Tim Duncan nor Tiago Splitter can leap or run with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, but the Spurs are so good stopping transition possessions that maybe running won’t play as big a role in this one as it does in most successful Clipper games. On top of that, Duncan tends to do work whenever Jordan guards him. The Spurs have weaknesses; they just come with loads of qualifications. I guess that’s why they’re the Spurs.