The Spurs will win if: They exploit the Clippers’ third ranked defense.
As well as the Clippers defense is playing they are still heavily flawed.
While retaining continuity — along with Matt Barnes, Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom and Ryan Hollins — may have benefited the defensive output for the better, it’s just as likely that the sample size is fluky.
There’s two reasons why this may be the case: First, they still foul a lot (22ndin free throw attempts per field goal attempt). Second, they don’t rebound well on the defensive end (25th in defensive rebounding percentage). A combination of the two and you have a defense that isn’t disciplined and gives away extra possessions to the opposition. Again.
The Spurs will lose if: The Clippers defense plays like their ranking indicates. Offense isn’t a concern, and won’t be as long as Chris Paul is on the roster, so anything they receive defensively would be a nice coup.
X-Factor: DeAndre Jordan recorded his only double-double of the season (20 points and 11 rebounds) in a 22-point victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Jordan toppled the 20-point season high the following day against Portland; for reference, Jordan failed to reach 20 points in 66 games last season.
Shooting at a career high rate (.659 true shooting percentage), Jordan has continued his onslaught of high percentage dunks. Last season, however, the Spurs exposed Jordan on the defensive end, where he has yet to turn his athleticism into success. Primarily because of his proclivity to foul (4.3 personal fouls per 36 minutes).
San Antonio scored 15.8 points per 100 possessions more while Jordan was on the floor in the playoffs, a trend that was quickly reversed in their first regular season tilt.