What is taking so long for people to realize that the name on the jersey does not make the team who wears it? All year long the Clippers have been the “but” team: The Clippers are good, “but” they’re the Clippers. Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the league, “but” he’s on the Clippers. Blake Griffin is awesome to watch, “but” he’s on the Clippers.
Most NBA “experts” and analysts predicted the Clippers to lose to the Memphis in their first-round series. After the Clippers' historic 27-point comeback in Game 1, many rescinded their predictions and picked the Clippers to win the series.
Then after the Clippers lost Game 6 at home and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin suffered injuries in Game 5, no one gave the Clippers a shot to win. Again, the Clippers proved the NBA world wrong.
The Clippers now have a monumental task of facing the San Antonio Spurs, who just happened to finish the season with the best record in the NBA. The Spurs' point guard, Tony Parker, is having what many believed to be an MVP-caliber season. The Spurs have added athletic young players and key veterans to complement their aging stars, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan.
The Clippers’ roster is actually a lot like the Spurs. It has a nice mix of very athletic young players, who are now playoff tested and won’t be wide-eyed going against the franchise that seems to contend for the title every year.
On paper, the Spurs seem to overpower the Clippers in talent and experience, but that was also the case last season. The Spurs finished last season again with the best record in the league. In the first round, they faced the tough defensive-minded Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis, on paper, seemed to be far outmatched. The Grizzlies played with the same energy and desire the Clippers now play with and eliminated the Spurs in six games.
The Spurs are a great defensive team, but they do not put the same amount of in-your-face pressure that the Grizzlies display. Therefore, Chris Paul will be able to breathe a little easier. He will have his hands full though with Tony Parker. In the same token, Tony Parker will now have to play a lot of defense against Chris Paul.
Statistically, the Clippers seem to be heavy underdogs, but they have played this season with something not measured with a pen and paper. They follow the heart, determination and grit of their leader, Chris Paul.
Because of the amount of fight in this team, they will upset the Spurs who may not be ready for the same kind of tough series they ran into last year. The color of the jerseys and players wearing them may be different from the Spurs’ opponent last year, but the outcome will be the same.