The NBA playoffs have been full of surprises already. Chris Paul showed the world why he is one of the top players in the league in the first round, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a win over a tough and tested Memphis Grizzlies team. This earns the Clips a date with the San Antonio Spurs in the second round, and one thing is for sure – win or lose the Clippers will get an education on playoff basketball from the Spurs.
The first factor to consider is the playoff experience on both teams, and how tht will be a factor. Some of the Clippers’ disadvantage in this area is negated by the magic of Chris Paul, and the fact that as a Hornet he has had a deep playoff run to his credit. But he is leading a very inexperienced playoff team.
Before we get to some of the matchups, it is important to note that the Spurs biggest advantage may be on the bench. George Popovich is one of the masters of X’s and O’s, and Vinny Del Negro is very lightly regarded. Del Negro, who is a whipping boy in the media, will be lucky to get out of this series, even if they lose, without at least one glaring situation where he costs his team.
The other critical matchup is at power forward. Venerable champion Tim Duncan against young, explosive Blake Griffin. You have to think Griffin is going to score and rebound more than Duncan at this point, but at some point, Duncan is going to critically outplay the youngster, dishing out a lesson.
Then there is Paul, who will face off against Tony Parker. Parker at this time is the Spurs best player, and he will make Paul both work hard and he will also nullify some of what Paul does with his brilliance.
It is an intriguing matchup. One look at NBA history tells us that the veteran teams such as the Spurs are a tough out, and they certainly do not look like they are ready to pass the torch off to the upstart Clippers. After last year, many people thought the window of opportunity for the Spurs had closed, however here they are again, the top seed in the West.
This has six game series written all over it, Spurs win, 4-2.