( ENSPIRE NEWS ) Spurs vs. Clippers 2015
After surging in the final two months of the regular season, it appeared the San Antonio Spurs were on their way to locking up the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and a possible head-to-head matchup with the Golden State Warriors in the conference finals. That may still happen, but the Spurs dropped to the No. 6 seed on the final day of the season and will now have to go on the road and through the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.
Although San Antonio eventually went on to win the title last season, it barely made it through the first round. The Spurs and Dallas Mavericks went to seven games. The matchup this season with the Clippers could be equally challenging as Los Angeles is playing well and primed for a long postseason run.
Blake Griffin is back healthy and playing well, Chris Paul is playing at an MVP level and DeAndre Jordan can be a difference maker inside. Whether that’s enough to get past the Spurs remains to be seen. San Antonio is again loaded with playoff experience and Kawhi Leonard continues to grow into a bigger role for the Spurs.
The two teams split the season series with San Antonio winning the first two and the Clippers taking the final two games during the regular season. Jordan had a couple big games against the Spurs including a 26-point, 18-rebound performance the last time the teams met. The Spurs sent Jordan to the line 28 times that meeting and could employ the Hack-a-Jordan strategy again.
San Antonio nearly had a much easier path to a repeat championship, but will now have to try to repeat without having home-court advantage. Only the 1995 Houston Rockets have ever won a NBA title as the No. 6 seed. Despite the disadvantage, San Antonio is playing arguably as well as anyone heading into the playoffs. The Clippers could say the same thing, however. San Antonio comes in winners of 14-of-16 games including 11-of-12 while the Clippers have won 14 of their last 15 games.
Something will have to give on Sunday when the teams meet for Game 1 of their playoff series.
How to watch San Antonio at Los Angeles
Place: Staples Center
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET