Two of the Western Conference’s elite square-off this evening at Staples Center, when the L.A. Clippers, currently third in the West, host the San Antonio Spurs, who currently sit atop the conference standings.
Both teams come into the game playing some of their best basketball of the season, each riding four-game winning streaks. The Clippers haven’t seen the court since last Thursday, when they dismantled the Lakers 125-101.
San Antonio played in Sacramento on Tuesday, where they beat the Future Sonics 108-102.
The marquee individual matchup will come between the point guards, with All-Star MVP Chris Paul facing-off against fellow All-Star Tony Parker, who is on quite the impressive streak of his own.
Parker is averaging 29 points and nine assists over his last five games, although he’s struggled in the two matchups against the Clippers this season, averaging just over seven points per game in the two losses. He did score 30 points to go along with 11 assists in the win over the Kings.
In November, the Clippers beat the Spurs 106-84 in San Antonio, and again 92-87 the last time the Spurs came to see the Clips.
San Antonio did easily sweep L.A. out of the playoffs last season, but Parker struggled in that series, as well, shooting just over 36 percent from the floor against Paul and co.
Paul has recovered nicely from the knee bruise that kept him out of 10 games recently, averaging 20 points during the current four-game win streak. Their average margin of victory during the streak is a massive 16.2 points per game, which is very similar to how things were during their 17-game streak earlier in the season.
The Clippers have taken each of the last three regular season matchups between the teams.
Another matchup to watch will be the revitalized Tim Duncan against Blake Griffin in the frontcourt, and star reserves Manu Ginobili vs. Jamal Crawford.
Duncan, who is 96 years old, is averaging 17 points and a team-best 9.7 boards per game, while blocking nearly three shots, as well.
San Antonio has also been getting a big boost of late from young forward Kawhi Leonard, who is averaging nearly 16 points per game over the last eight games for the Spurs.
L.A. currently trails San Antonio by 4.5 games for the top seed in the conference.
Following this one, the Clippers will welcome the Utah Jazz to Staples on Saturday, while the Spurs will head back north to face the upstart Warriors tomorrow night.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.