It’s that time of the year again. The weather is warming, the rain is slicking over the sidewalks with a sticky brown sheen, and NBA teams are being killed mercilessly left and right. Teams like the Pelicans and Celtics were just glad to be there, but others have fan bases already in mourning. The Blazers and Mavericks were two epic disappointments, and after their game 6 defeat against the Bulls, about 20,000 Milwaukee fans are wondering why they spent two hundred dollars just to watch five Bucks. (Was that pun bad?)
One series, though, is still as interesting as ever. The Clippers and the Spurs. Spurs fans know what it’s like to taste success, but like any team, we also know heartbreak, and some of us are more than a little nervous. Breathe easy, San Antonio. Here is your guide to watching Game 7 of Clippers vs. Spurs.
WATCH THE EARLY SIGNS
Game 6 viewers may have felt comfortable after a Marco Bellinelli playing a game of H.O.R.S.E against the Clippers led to a ten point lead early on, but the end result turned out much differently. In retrospect, seeing that the Spurs were turning the ball over as much as they were should have given us some concerns. Always keep confidence in the Silver and Black, but if turnover problems continue…just be prepared for the worst. The Clippers truly run one of the greatest fast break attacks ever, with quick-moving (and quick-thinking) Chris Paul handling the ball and Blake Griffin always viciously pushing for a momentum swinging dunk no matter who’s under him. Seriously, if given the opportunity, Griffin would probably put Air Bud on a poster.
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HAVE EMERGENCY “JUST IN CASE” FOOD PLAN
Last year, in what has been a largely forgotten series, the Mavericks also took the Spurs to seven games in the first round. So there’s no reason to send any distress signals out, but the other guys have the home court advantage this time so be prepared. If the Spurs apocalypse happens, and the Clippers end up holding a pretty solid lead throughout the game, you’re going to need a distraction. Order a pizza, maybe drink a few beers if you need to. There’s only one way you’re getting through this now.
SAVOR THE SAVVY VETS
They say it every year, I know, but this could be it for Ginobili and Duncan. Conventional wisdom would tell you that at least Timmy wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to retire as a champion only to hang it up the very next year, but it’s became clear over the past eighteen years that our franchise player’s mind doesn’t work the same as other NBA stars’ do. If Duncan has a poor outing (doubtful, the way he’s played lately) or if Ginobili tries to precisely fit the basketball into the loop of a defenders shoelace, try not to get too angry with them. Remember, it may be the last Manu Ginobili turnover you ever see live, or the last time you get to watch Timmy’s eyes bulge out in surprise after a foul. Maybe you should even bring some handkerchiefs.
GET READY TO BE HYPED
Popovich is angry. Leonard has had two straight subpar offensive performances and will be looking to make the right adjustments on his jump shot, and Duncan has came through consistently when the moment demands it most all season long. The Clippers are on fire and will always prove to be a tough match-up, but the Spurs are still the more capable team. These are last years champions, and when Kawhi is at his best they have a chance to be even better than the 2014 team. If the Spurs trust the system and make their shots, then they’ll be the ones advancing to the second round. If the pieces fall into place, we could be in position to make yet another run at the title this year.