What’s on the Line for the Clippers – Spurs Series
The NBA playoffs have been disappointing as the first round comes to close. Upsets have been few and many of the series were over after about two games. In fact, of the eight playoff series, after only the first two playoff games only one went back to the lower seeds city with a series count that wasn’t 2-0; that was the San Antonio- Los Angeles series. The Spurs and Clippers, as I predicted in my playoff preview, has been the series with the most intrigue, storylines, and highlights. There is simply so much on the line as the teams head back to Los Angeles nodded at 2 games apiece and more than likely headed for a deciding game 7. The weight of impact in this series can just not be under estimated. So as this series drags along, we take a look at some of the main things that are on the line in this series.
1) The losing team could look different next year
This is currently year 4 of the Chris Paul - Blake Griffin experiment. Although there has been a plethora of regular season success from the two, playoff success has been minimal. Having never made at least the conference finals in the Western Conference in that much time despite having 2 of the 10 best players in the league is disappointing to say the least. You would have to think that in the case of another early first round exit the Clippers are looking onto a summer that will be marked with change. Although CP3 and Griffin will likely stay together just based on what history tells us, everyone else on the roster seems up for grabs. The free agency of Deandre Jordan is intriguing in that he’s their third piece and defensive center; he is also a free agent this summer. If the Clippers lose, don’t expect DJ to be back, along with many role players. However, on the Spurs side of things, it could be equally as changing. The longtime consensus is that this is Tim Duncan’s and Manu Ginobli’s last year before retirement. With a first round exit and Duncan and Ginobli clearly showing more than their fair signs of slowing down, it would not be a surprise if they were to retire this off season. Add in the fact that San Antonio has long been rumored to be a player in this summer’s free agent market and you can see that those two players would have to retire in order to create that cap space. However, if they were to play on and possibly win a coveted repeat title, then clearly retirement plans would likely be put on hold for a run at a three peat.
2) Legacy is on the line
This is probably more of a pressing issue for the Clippers. Chris Paul is one of the greatest point guards of all time. He has led the league in assists, steals, and advanced metrics for years for his position. He will be in barbershop talks one day with the likes of Isiah, Magic, Oscar, and Stockton, all on a first name basis of you notice. Perhaps the only way to ascend himself into the level of those greats to at least play on the games highest stage of win a title outright. That is what separates the greats. And in his first 9 seasons, he has yet to make it out of round 2, as mentioned. For the Spurs, the legendary veterans have been through and done just about everything in the book except repeat, given their momentum this seems like the best chance they will ever get.
3) A champion can likely come from this series
This is often times so hard to predict but these teams are without a doubt two of the best three teams in the conference and perhaps in the league. You have to think, the winner of this series will have gone through such a dog fight against such a high quality opponent that by the time they get to the 2nd round (which lingers a likely date with Houston), they will simply have all the confidence that is necessary and run over opponents. The winner of this series will know just what exactly they are truly capable of and you would have to bet that a trait such as that can only help them. The winner of this will more than likely be favored to come out of the entire conference and with good right, they more than deserve it, given the defeated opponents talent.
As this series continues to move along, keep in mind just how much each of these teams are playing for, because as we’ve learned, next year is not a guarantee. They must seize the magnitude of this moment, and us as fans get the pleasure to sit back and enjoy it.