The San Antonio Spurs (2-3) take on the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center at 10:30 PM ET. After struggling with a mediocre Lakers team and an injury depleted Oklahoma City Thunder team, the Clippers are starting to figure it out. After getting humiliated by the Golden State Warriors in a one sided 17 point loss, the Clippers cleaned things up and beat a tough Portland team on Saturday. The Spurs on the other hand lost to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night by one.
In order for the Spurs to get a win against the Clippers, they must take care of a few things.
–Kawhi Leonard Has to Step Up
Going into the season, there was nothing but high expectations for Kawhi Leonard, after winning Finals MVP. So far, Leonard hasn’t played up to his potential. Leonard is averaging 9.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. While his stats have increased across the board, his scoring has taken a hit so far and the eye infection he suffered in the preseason can be a factor. A career 50% shooter from the field, is shooting 31% this year. But then again its only been 4 games that he has played. If the Spurs want to beat an explosive Clippers team, Leonard will have to score more tonight.
If there ever is a team that you can’t turn the ball over against it’s probably the Clippers. The first reason is because they run the floor as well as anyone, as they have the most athletic front court in the league. Secondly, they are a team that you can’t afford to fall behind. The Spurs will need to take care of the ball tonight, and it all starts with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
-Contain Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin has turned into an elite power forward over the past few seasons and it appears that he is still improving. Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw will have to contain Griffin as he is averaging 24.5 points and 6.3 rebounds this year. Griffin isn’t all highlights anymore, as he has turned into a consistent 15-20 feet shooter. He has also improved as a free throw shooter, as he is shooting 77% this season.
The Spurs bench has consisted of different rotations as they have put different starting lineups together as they have been plagued with injury. The bench will likely consist of Manu Ginobili, Cory Joseph, Austin Daye, and Aron Baynes. If the Spurs bench outplays the Clippers bench, that is led by Jamal Crawford they will be in good position to win. With Crawford (20.2 points) leading the way that is a tough task.
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