With several potential hall of fame players and two Hall of Fame coaches it is not a surprise that these two teams played an even season series at 2-2. The Spurs have been the hottest team in the league as of late and the Clippers are out to prove that they can get out of the first round.
POINT GUARD- Tony Parker vs. Chris Paul
A tremendous matchup featuring two of the leagues top 5 point guards. It’s easy to forget Parker because he continues to just win and because he missed multiple games this season due to injury. He appears to be healthy and if that is the case there is no better point guard in the league come playoff time. Paul has done everything a player can do from an individual and statistical standpoint. All that left is to do what all successful point guards need to do, which is win. A series victory over the Spurs and Parker would be a good start.
Shooting Guard- Danny Green vs. J.J Redick
It is unusual in the NBA to have a matchup where the starters are not as productive or as important to their team as the backups but this is the case here. Redick is the starter for the Clippers but will either be on the bench or playing along side Jamal Crawford for most 4th quarter situations. Green is a strong outside shooter but he also either fines himself out of the game or playing with veteran Manu Ginobili in crucial situations. Both players are starters because they are good defenders and knock down outside shooters.
Small Forward- Kawhi Leonard vs. Matt Barnes
This matchup is about as lopsided as it gets, as Leonard is the type of player that Barnes wishes he were. Barnes is a good defender and will get into a few passing lanes throughout the game but doesn’t do much else. Leonard is a star in the making. He is the prototype for what a small forward should be and he is only getting better learning from coach Greg Popovich.
Power Forward- Tiago Splitter vs. Blake Griffin
Splitter is the likely starter for the Spurs but there are many other options such as Boris Diaw, Aron Baynes, Matt Bonner, or even playing Leonard at Power forward. Expect the majority of the minutes to go to Diaw, his versatility becomes even more valuable in the playoffs. Griffin battled injuries this season and saw a slight drop in his overall production but is still capable of producing at an all-star level.
CENTER- Tim Duncan vs. Deandre Jordan.
This is a fantastic matchup of the old savvy veteran and the youngster who has finally come into his own. Duncan had yet another productive season and his minutes were managed so that he will be at peak health for this playoff run. Jordan had the best season of his young career and had better be ready to make some free throws.
Both teams are deep off the bench. The Clippers feature Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, Spencer Hawes, and Crawford. The Spurs have Ginobili, Diaw, and last year’s playoff hero, Patty Mills.