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Game 4 Preview: Clippers vs. Spurs

Basketball Insiders previews Game 4 of the Clippers-Spurs series.

Jabari Davis profile picture
Updated 11 months ago on
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#3 – Los Angeles Clippers

We warned about the chances of the Spurs coming out and firing on all cylinders when returning home if the Los Angeles Clippers were not careful in Game 3, and unfortunately for the Clippers, that is precisely what took place. Beyond the Spurs continuing to build their momentum as the first team to win consecutive games in the series, the Clippers never appeared to even look competitive in their first trip to AT&T Center this postseason.

As mentioned, they were very good on the road throughout the regular season and were even able to win one of the rare games the Spurs surrendered at home this year, but this team isn’t going to win too many playoff games when Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick combine to go 11-33 from the field. Not to mention, as has been the case throughout the entire season, in the event Jamal Crawford’s shot isn’t on, the Clippers simply don’t have anyone else outside of the starting unit they can truly rely upon to consistently contribute. Austin Rivers was able to provide 11 points in relief, but the game was completely out-of-hand when he did much of his damage and it clearly wasn’t nearly enough to offset an off night from Crawford (1-11 from the field).

The Clippers also cannot afford to get significantly out-rebounded, which they did (47-38), and simply have to find a way to shoot better than 6-23 (26.1 percent) from beyond the arc in order to stand a chance at stealing Game 4 and heading back to Los Angeles with a bit of momentum.

#6 – San Antonio Spurs

It probably gets a bit redundant and perhaps even boring to hear this all the time, but to be the man, you have to beat the man. The Spurs showed precisely why they are going to be extremely difficult to knock out of this postseason tournament as even though Tony Parker was still clearly slowed due to injury, San Antonio simply found a way to get the job done. Player after player stepped into the action and contributed in various ways.

Keep in mind, Parker and Tim Duncan (coming off a 44-minute performance in Game 2) only combined for 10 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists between the two future Hall of Famers, but the Spurs were essentially on cruise control from the early stages of the third quarter and on. Although still a step slower than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, Parker did look more comfortable while on the court and was able to play 26 minutes. Kawhi Leonard (32 points on 13-18 from the field) and Danny Green (11 points, six rebounds, three steals) each did a fantastic job of shadowing and making it difficult for Paul to operate due to their length, while Boris Diaw and Marco Belinelli combined for 24 points on 9-13 from the field off the bench.

The Spurs have improved from the field in each of the three games in this series (36.6 percent, 46.2 percent, 52.6 percent), and that doesn’t appear to be a trend Paul, Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Co. can do much about. That’s bad news for the Clippers.

Who Wins Game 4?

The Clippers have too much talent in that core unit to simply roll over and give up after a blowout that followed a tough overtime loss. The question is, do they have enough pride to truly rise to the occasion and avoid having to head back to Staples in a must-win situation? It wouldn’t shock us to see the Clippers start Game 4 with a renewed vengeance, but ultimately the Spurs probably win a tighter battle and really snatch control in this series.

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Jabari Davis is a senior NBA Writer and Columnist for Basketball Insiders, covering the Pacific Division and NBA Social Media activity.

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