The Los Angeles Clippers are in a good spot. Well, it’s not the No. 1 spot they would like to be in for the playoffs to secure home-court advantage throughout the postseason. But, so what? More than likely, the Clippers could very well wind up with the No. 4 seed and host the first round of the playoffs, which is not a bad thing.
Considering the Western Conference is going to be a grab bag anyway between the top four teams-Golden State, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and the Clippers in the mix, it pretty much doesn’t matter who else is in the fray. The Clippers have done a marvelous job with Blake Griffin, who will be coming back soon to the lineup.
After beating the Denver Nuggets on Sunday (105-90), the Clippers became the Western Conference’s fourth team to lock down a playoff spot. Now that’s concluded, it’s time for the preparation for the crown jewel (NBA title).
Pretty much everyone has reached the foregone conclusion that either Golden State or San Antonio will represent the Western Conference, while LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will take up the slack in the Eastern Conference and will do the tango again with the Warriors one more time.
I’m not so sure about that. And here’s why: The Clippers knocked off the same Warriors team two years ago in a first round, seven-game series. They defeated the Spurs last year in the playoffs, when no one outside of the Mississippi Rivers gave them a shot to do so.
Yeah, the Spurs picked up LaMarcus Aldridge to bolster their lineup, but they’re flawed because of their age. Aldridge and Blake Griffin will cancel each other out, and that leaves the Spurs dealing with a very old roster (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili) to pull out a seven-game series again.
The Warriors are beatable as well, if someone decides to put a body on Steph Curry as soon as the ball is in play and hound him down the whole court and put a blanket on Klay Thompson. That’s easier said than done. It can be executed, though.
The Clippers, a team that has played the Warriors the toughest this season, have the right ingredients to upset the apple cart in the Western Conference. First, the Warriors don’t have anyone-including Draymond Green, who can stop Griffin from dropping in 30 points on a nightly basis. Secondly, guard Chris Paul, with his absolute physical play, plays Curry perhaps tougher than any guard in the NBA.
Jeff Green would be the third reason that gives the Clippers a great chance of advancing past the second round. Green is physical, can score, and would be ideal to get in Thompson’s face and harass Curry’s backcourt mate into foul trouble, which would limit the shooting guard’s effectiveness. The fourth reason why people should not sleep on the Clippers this postseason is the fact this team is probably a bit tired of hearing that they can’t past the second round.
That’s motivation enough. The last point I want to make about the Clippers and Warriors is that these teams have history. They don’t like each other very much. As the reigning NBA champs, the Warriors are the Alpha Dogs of the league right now. Inching closer to tying and perhaps surpassing the Chicago Bulls’ regular season mark of 72 wins, the Warriors are feeling themselves right now. They got that swag thing going on.
However, it won’t mean one iota if Curry and his teammates are not able to close the deal with a second championship. This Clippers team is probably better stacked than everyone else in the league, including the Cavaliers, to burst Golden State’s bubble. Just don’t be surprised if it happens.