2012 LA Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs Series Price, Odds and Predictions – NBA Western Conference Semifinals Picks: Fresh of the heels of just their second playoff series victory since the franchise moved from Buffalo, the fifth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers are entering uncharted territory as they prepare to face the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals. Despite the drastically different histories of these two teams, both have something to prove. The Clippers are trying to erase a culture of losing that has spanned decades, while San Antonio is trying to erase the memories of last year’s shocking first-round playoff exit. A trip to the Western Conference finals would certainly do that for both teams.
Entering the series, the Spurs are without question the hottest team in the NBA, having won 14 straight games and 27 of their last 29. San Antonio swept the Utah Jazz in the opening round, giving their veteran stars plenty of time to rest. Meanwhile, the Clippers nearly coughed up a 3-1 lead in their series against Memphis, before finally closing things out in Game 7. Throw in nagging injuries to Los Angeles stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and the well-rested Spurs have to be considered better equipped to handle the fatigue that comes with a postseason run.
During the regular season, San Antonio took two out of three meetings with the Clippers, with the lone win for Los Angeles coming in early March courtesy of an incredible assault from beyond the arc. The Clippers hit 14 of their 27 3-point attempts in the victory. Meanwhile, the Spurs’ two wins came via an overtime thriller and a blowout. San Antonio may be the top seed and red hot, but based on the regular season results, this series could be up for grabs.
The premier matchup will be Paul versus Tony Parker at the point guard spot. Paul is widely considered the best pure point man in the NBA, but surprisingly, Parker actually averaged more assists in their head-to-head meetings. Both players averaged more than 22 points per game, and they are without question the most important players on their teams and the main reason both sides were among the best at not turning the ball over. In fact, they have such similar roles as floor generals that the matchup could end up being a wash.
One area that drastically favors San Antonio is depth. With athletic young players like Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter coming off the bench, along with veteran Stephen Jackson, the Spurs have plenty of firepower to support veteran starters Tim Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili. Meanwhile, the Clippers have almost no consistent bench scoring to fall back on, especially in the post. San Antonio averaged the second-most points per game in the NBA team this season, and there is a good chance Los Angeles could have trouble keeping up.
The two X-factors in the series could be 3-point shooting and free throw shooting. San Antonio had the best 3-point percentage of any team during the regular season, while the Clippers ranked outside the top 10. With more shooters and better shooters, the odds are definitely in the Spurs’ favor in a best-of-seven format. More importantly, Los Angeles had the second-worst free throw percentage of any team this season. With as many bodies as San Antonio has, the Spurs can afford to get physical with Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan and force them to earn their points from the foul line.
In the end, San Antonio is just the deeper, more efficient team. Paul has been able to mask a lot of the Clippers’ problems throughout the year, but the constantly underrated Parker is closer to his equal than most people give him credit for. The Spurs are the better offensive team in this matchup, and there is a reason they have been running over the rest of the league. They are well rested and healthy, and the Clippers aren’t. This should be another quick series for the Spurs.
Prediction: San Antonio Spurs Win in 5 Games
Los Angeles Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs Series Price
Los Angeles Clippers +1300
San Antonio Spurs -2200
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