Originally posted on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 5/19/12

The San Antonio Spurs are on a 16-game winning streak when you combine the regular season and beginning of this postseason. The Spurs have played six games thus far in the postseason; the Clippers have already played nine games. The Spurs lead the Clippers 2-0 in their Western Conference Semi Finals, but will the Clippers going home to Los Angeles shift the series in a new direction? Or will the Spurs, who have an excellent road record, disallow the Hollywood atmosphere to affect them, as they could be on their way to another sweep?

Spurs vs. Clippers Playoff Statistics

  • 1. Points: Spurs (103.7) – Clippers (90.6) = Spurs
  • 2. Assists: Spurs (23) – Clippers (16.2) = Spurs
  • 3. Shooting percentage: Spurs (49.1%) – Clippers (45.5%) = Spurs
  • 4. Three point shooting percentage: Spurs (42.8%) – Clippers (39.4%) = Spurs
  • 5. Turnovers: Spurs (12.3) – Clippers (14.7) = Spurs
  • 6. Rebounds: Spurs (41.5) – Clippers (36.1) = Spurs
  • 7. Personal Fouls: Spurs (18.7) – Clippers (24.4) = Spurs
  • 8. Free Throw Attempts: Spurs (21.3) –Clippers (24.9) = Clippers

Statistical Leader: Spurs 7-1

To find out what went right and what went wrong in game two between the Spurs and Clippers, read our own Kyle Boentiz’ piece from Friday. For the Spurs today, they have to watch two main elements in L.A. They can’t turn the ball over and they have to limit momentum from building with the Clippers’ crowd giving their team energy.

The way the Clippers get rolling is when their opponent turns the ball over. Doing this usually ends in a quick points and “lob city” alley-oops from Chris Paul to Blake Griffin. The Clippers are also an excellent three point shooting team in transition. The Clippers showed this ability in converting turnovers into points in game one of the series, when the Spurs turned the ball over 18 times. In San Antonio, the Spurs weathered their turnover storm because they were at home, Today, if they turn the ball over 18 times on the road, it’s likely they’ll be facing their first playoff loss.

Limiting the momentum of the Clippers’ crowd is something the Spurs will have to limit throughout the game as well. If they can run their tempo and execute on offense, while also continuing to play team defense in limiting the Clippers’ biggest weapons, they shouldn’t have a problem. There’s two ways for a home team to get their crowd in uproar-mode. The first is to finish at the rim with spectacular layups or dunks that are successful and possibly get an and-one opportunity, or the second is to make wide open three pointers. The Clippers have the dunkers in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, while they have an assortment of three point shooters who shot 49% from distance in game two. Limiting these to areas will be some main concerns for the Spurs today on the road.

The prediction

This is really the deciding game of this series. The Spurs have all the momentum and numerically are expected to win by 13 points, but being on the road can be a different animal. Watching the way Tony Parker comes out in this one will be key and how much the Spurs can limit Paul will once again be a strong indication of how the game will end. On the Spurs’ offense, they need to continue to push the pace, share the basketball (especially making just two passes for a wide open shot), and executing in the pick-and-roll. Defensively, they’ll need to watch Paul in the pick-and-roll as well, and limit the Clippers three point shooters.

Yes it’s a new arena and the Spurs won’t have their fans behind them, but the game is still the same. Both teams want to push the tempo, which the Spurs excel at, and even though the Clippers are winning the bench battle in this series, the Spurs still have just too much firepower in both their starting lineup and bench combined, I expect this to be the toughest game of the series, but the Spurs winning a hard fought battle between five to eight points.

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