Thursday 7 May 2015

NBA Playoffs - The Clippers

Im starting to become a huge fan of these Clippers! They aren't a surprise team, since we all know that they are pretty good but they have definitely come of age in these playoffs.

With the history of success the Lakers have and all the great players that have put on the purple and gold, the Clippers have just had to accept being second rate citizens in LA...Even though in recent times the Clippers have been a good team, better than the Lakers in fact, they just haven't been able to shake that "They are still the Clippers" tag...Some may think this is fair, others may not, but fact remains CP3 and Blake Griffin have been labelled playoff chokers and guys who despite amazing ability haven't shown they can carry a team when it matters.

Well that has changed....

The first round series between the Clippers and Spurs was by FAR the most entertaining. It went seven games and the Clippers obviously came out on top...But that victory meant so much more to that franchise than just a tick in the win column. They have been labelled by many people as a highly entertaining and athletic team (Lob City) but when it come to big games they didn't have the mental toughness to match up with good battle tested teams over the course a seven game series...But, in my opinion, that game seven win squashed all of that. Against the Spurs they lost game two at home and then proceeded to get smacked by almost 30 points in game three, this is the point where many experts believed the Clippers were done, but they won game four in San Antonio and got home advantage back...then went ahead and gave it right back by loosing game five at home. Down 3-2 with a must win game six on the road aka the type of game playoff tested San Antonio doesn't loose very often. They got the W and proceeded to close the series in dramatic fashion in a game seven that featured over 25 lead changes!!! On top of that the Spurs have been the playoff 'Kryptonite' for several teams over the years and was no doubt a huge mental barrier they managed to conquer.

I think Blake Griffin has been the best player in the playoffs so far! He has transformed his game from being a dunker to a highly skilled multi-dimensional player...he is arguably the best passing big man in the NBA and has developed a relatively consistent jumper from mid range. He has had a double double in every game so far, with a few triple doubles mixed in between.

You can see the difference in them so far in the series against the Rockets in game two. With Chris Paul not playing due to injury they won game one in Houston and at the time of writing are just behind the Rockets by four points early in the fourth (without CP3 again). Regardless of the result of game two I'm picking them to win in six, they have taken home court advantage off the Rockets and with CP3 coming back I think they will be too good...Im not going to do a Rasheed Wallace and guarantee anything but it would not surprise me one bit if they won the west and make it to the finals. 

This team is for real! They have the best PG in the game, the best defensive centre in the game and Blake Griffin on top of some excellent role players...depth off the bench is one of their downsides, with Jamal Crawford being the only consistent contributor. They are maybe one piece away from being a year in year out championship contender, but with the Spurs gone and the form they are currently in against the Rockets it would not surprise me at all if they made it out of the west.

They may not have the history the Lakers have...But at this moment they are definitely the Kings of LA


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