NBA Playoffs 2012 Picks/Predictions (Conference Semi-Finals): San Antonio Spurs(1) vs Los Angeles Clippers(5)

TEAM RECORDS: San Antonio Spurs (50-16) vs Los Angeles Clippers (40-26)

SEASON SERIES: San Antonio Spurs (2-1)

LAST SERIES: San Antonio Spurs (1) defeated Utah Jazz (8) in 4 games / Los Angeles Clippers (5) defeated Memphis Grizzlies (4) in 7 games

KEY MATCHUP: Tony Parker vs Chris Paul

PREVIEW

As is the case with the Thunder/Lakers series, we have one team who has had 8 days off after sweeping the opening round and 1 team who went the full 7.

The Spurs needed that sweep badly. Rest is always a good thing for a veteran basketball team. 8 days may seem like a lot, but their rested legs will be a huge advantage moving forward.

They’ve certainly made winning games look easy as of late. The Spurs have won 15 straight basketball games and 29 of their last 32. Their last loss came on April 11 against the other team from Los Angeles, the Lakers.

Despite holding a 3-1 series lead against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Clippers still needed the full 7 to close them out. They’re a young basketball team, but even young guys get tired.

A lot of fans, experts and purists have the Spurs running away with their 2nd straight series. I don’t believe that will be the case.

Yes, this is the Los Angeles Clippers. A majority of the team hasn’t seen postseason action quite like this before. They will go up against a Spurs team who hasn’t trailed in any quarter this postseason.

Despite all of that, the Clippers still have the best player in this series (Chris Paul). Los Angeles is hungry and no slouch in any sense of the word.

Expect a competitive back and forth series between these 2 powerhouses in the West.

THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS WILL WIN THIS SERIES IF they can stop the pick-and-roll of the Clippers. Los Angeles is renowned around the league for how well they run the pick-and-roll with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The Spurs tend to struggle with that play, so it will be interesting to see what methods coach Popovich comes up with to halt the Clippers in their tracks.

THE LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS WILL WIN THIS SERIES IF they push the tempo and get the Spurs out of their comfort zone. As I think they would/should, the Clippers will watch tapes of the Grizzlies sweep of the Spurs in last years playoffs and realize that they aren’t much different from that Memphis team. San Antonio may be deeper this go-around, but the on-court formula is still the same. If the Clippers can get big outings from Griffin and Jordan down low, as well as get the bench production they got in the opening round, they could sneak out a series win against the #1 seeded Spurs.

FUN FACT: This is the 15th consecutive postseason appearance for the San Antonio Spurs. This is just the eighth playoff appearance in 42 years for the Clippers.

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 1: Tuesday, May 15, Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs, 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 2: Thursday, May 17, Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs, 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Game 3: Saturday, May 19, San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 4: Sunday, May 20, San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 p.m. ET TNT

Game 5: Tuesday, May 22, Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs, TBD on TNT (if necessary)

Game 6: Friday, May 25, San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers, TBD on ESPN (if necessary)

Game 7: Sunday, May 27, Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs, TBD on TNT (if necessary)

 FINAL STAFF PREDICTIONS

  Editor Christopher Walder: San Antonio Spurs in 7

  Writer Jason Leung: Los Angeles Clippers in 6

  Writer John Armstrong: San Antonio Spurs in 5

  Writer Joe Nardone: San Antonio Spurs in 5

  Writer Mike Owens: San Antonio Spurs in 6

 

Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports

 

Topics: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker

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