Clippers at San Antonio
5:30 p.m. PT
KFWB 980 AM
1. Do the Clippers have the perimeter defenders to contain Parker and Ginobili?
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Chris Paul can stay in front of Tony Parker and harass him with his quick hands, but Manu Ginobili is a nightmare matchup for Chauncey Billups. The way Manu can control his body and shift directions is going to be tough for a guy like Billups, who doesn’t have the foot speed or quick hips to be a good isolation defender.
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: No. Chris Paul should be able to keep up with Parker and limit his effectiveness, but neither Billups nor Butler can match Ginobili’s quickness or athleticism. The Clippers’ team defense (aka DeAndre Jordan) will have to act as a band-aide and stop the bleeding for the Clippers to win.
Breene Murphy, ClipperBlog: No. Paul should do a fine job on Parker. And while Chauncey and Caron have the veteran guile to defend Ginobili, they don’t have the spry legs. Here’s hoping for another DeAndre block party.
2. How many shot attempts is too many for Chauncey Billups?
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: I’m fine with Chauncey taking 15 shots so long as they’re good shots. Long, contested twos with plenty of time on the shot clock are the ones you can’t live with. If Paul is deferring again and Blake can’t get his offense going, Billups needs to shoot threes or get to the rim and draw fouls. That’s what he typically does, so I’m thinking we’ll see him revert back to normal tonight.
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: As long as Chauncey isn’t shooting more than Paul or Griffin, I’m fine with him taking as man shots as he’d like. Of course, quality is more important than quantity. Billups can take 19 shots if, and only if, they’re good shots within the offensive scheme (or he’s on fire). Otherwise kick it back out to Paul or dump it down low to Blake.
Breene Murphy, ClipperBlog: It’s not the amount, so much as the quality. I’m fine with Chauncey taking 20 shots in a game when he’s getting open looks. But the Baron-esque forced chucking? That has to stop.
3. Fact or Fiction: The Clippers get their first win in San Antonio since 2002.
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Fiction. The Spurs (obviously) are tough at home, and have chemistry in their corner against a Clippers team still figuring it out. A fresh San Antonio team is hard to bet against this early in the season. Spurs 103, Clippers 96.
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: Fact. This is the closest these two teams have been talent-wise since 2006 (maybe even further back than that) and the Clips had a couple of down-to-the-wire games back then. Duncan cannot guard Griffin (nor can anyone else on the Spurs’ roster) and Paul is a notorious Spur-killer. Clippers pass their first test.
Breene Murphy, ClipperBlog: Fact. This isn’t so much as a sign of the San Antonio decline — I think they’re still a very good team — so much as a belief that Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the Clippers crave making a statement early in the season.