Spurs vs. Clippers: Preview of Game 4 of the Western Conference Playoffs

Daniel KockContributor IIIMay 20, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs controls the ball against Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 19, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Spurs won 96-86 to take a three games to none lead in the series.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers are looking to avoid getting swept and sending the series back to San Antonio for Game 5.

The Clippers have been living and dying by huge runs in the 2012 postseason. They appeared ready to get back into the series in Game 3 when they jumped out to a 22-point lead after the first quarter.

However, the Spurs used a 24-0 run of their own in the third quarter to devastate the Clippers, and eventually went on to win 96-86.

The Spurs have demonstrated their advantage in this series so far.

Spurs point guard Tony Parker has outplayed superstar Chris Paul in the series. Parker is averaging 17.3 points a game and 8.7 assists while Paul is averaging 9.3 points and 8.7 assists on just 30.8 percent shooting.

Veteran post player Tim Duncan is still showing he can get it done as he is coming off a 19-point 13-rebound effort in Game 3.

Duncan, Parker and bench player Manu Ginobili have helped the Spurs to an NBA record 17 straight playoff victories, and still have yet to fall in the 2012 postseason.

The areas where the Clippers need to improve coming off Game 3 are at the free-throw line where they shot just 50 percent and also the three-point line where they shot 33.3 percent.

It was a case of the right guys not taking those shots or getting to the line in Game 3. Caron Butler didn't attempt a shot behind the arc leading to his zero points.

Paul and Blake Griffin made all of their attempts but got to the line just four times.

Three-point specialist was just 1-5 from three-point territory and post player Reggie Evans was 3-10 at the free throw line.

In order for the Clippers to extend this series they will need more scoring production from their perimeter players.

Griffin had arguably his best game of the series with a 28-point ,16-rebound performance.

It will be up to the players around Griffin and Paul to knock down shots from the outside, while Paul also needs to attack the rim more and get to the line.

If not, the Spurs will use their experience to eliminate the Clippers and extend their playoff win streak to 18 games.