The NBA playoffs head into the weekend with lots of close match-ups. The San Antonio Spurs- defending NBA champs- will get to come home and host their first playoff game of the year against the LA Clippers. The series is all knotted up at one game a-piece after the Spurs took game two in LA in overtime. Tim Duncan, who will turn 39 in a few days, is the oldest player in the playoffs this year, but he doesn’t seem to be playing like it. He finished game 2 with 28 points and 11 boards, and even more impressive is that he did that playing the last 8 minutes of the game with 5 fouls. Had the Spurs lost game 2, it would have been the first time the Spurs would go 0-2 under head coach Popovich in a playoff series. A bigger problem for the Spurs is the injury to Tony Parker. He has been fairly ineffective through the first 2 games, and is listed as probable for game 3. I expect him to play, but also expect him to not be much of a difference maker again.
I think the Clippers are the team to come out of this series, and if they do, they should be the favorites to be the team representing the West. They are younger, healthier and more hungry- the franchise is looking for its first championship still-. The Spurs have the experience in their corner, but I think their historic run is nearing the end. A big problem for the Spurs has been Blake Griffin. He had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists last game, and is averaging 26.2 points in his last 5 games against the spurs. He did, however, have 3 turnovers down the stretch which potentially cost them the game.
"You know, that game is pretty much 100 percent on me," Griffin said. "... I've just got to take care of the ball. We've got to change some things around. But it's about the spirit we played with, and I expect us to come out with the right spirit on Friday night." I expect the Clippers to split in San Antonio, win at home, and then close this series out in San Antonio in 6 games.