San Antonio Spurs: A scary matchup with the LA Clippers on Halloween night
By Ethan Farina
The LA Clippers and Kawhi Leonard will host the San Antonio Spurs on Halloween night in a matchup between two of the top teams in the Western Conference
The San Antonio Spurs will go up against one of the scariest teams in the NBA on Halloween night as they attempt to maintain their place atop the Western Conference. The LA Clippers, lead by their T-800 doppelganger, Kawhi Leonard, are one of the leagues best and will be the toughest matchup yet for the Spurs.
With Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet, and Montrezl Harrell the Clippers already had an intimidating collection of players. Adding Leonard and Paul George to that collection took LA from scary to downright terrifying. This team is understandably predicted by many to be in the Western Conference Finals when all is said and done.
Even without Paul George, the Clippers have come out of the gates almost as strongly as the Spurs. Just when you thought Kawhi’s game couldn’t get better, he’s now setting up his teammates like never before. The Ringer’s Dan Devine recently wrote about how Kawhi’s new playmaking ability has turned the only perceived weakness into another strength.
Now that Kawhi’s found his rhythm as a playmaker, the Spurs won’t be able to slow down the Clippers by forcing Leonard to give the ball up to players like Williams and Shamet. It wouldn’t have been a great plan in the first place. Williams is one of the best sixth men in NBA history and Shamet has opened the season connecting on a blistering 43 percent of his three-point attempts.
The Spurs will really be up against it trying to slow down Kawhi and company. They’ve struggled on defense to start the season while the Clippers have been ripping through their competition to the tune of 121.5 points per game, good enough for third in the NBA. San Antonio’s defensive renaissance is unlikely to happen against one of the best teams in the league. They’ll just have to win the game with their offense.
The Clippers are one of the best offensive teams in the league so far but the Spurs aren’t far behind them. San Antonio has been pushing the pace like never before and the results have been impressive. The Spurs well-rounded offense is sixth in points per game and fourth in offensive rating through three games. One of the main reasons for San Antonio’s eye-catching offensive performance has been the emergence of Dejounte Murray as a real scoring threat.
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Leonard was supposed to be the future of the Spurs but that’s Murray’s place now. And let me tell you, the future looks bright. Murray has been a two-way force to start the season. And he’s still being held back on a minutes restriction. Per 36 minutes, Murray is averaging a jaw-dropping 23 points, 13 rebounds, and 9.4 assists. Those are All-NBA level numbers.
As impressive as Murray has been, he’s going to be going up against one of few players in the league who can challenge him for the guard spots on the All-Defensive Team. Patrick Beverly is an absolute madman on defense. The exact kind of player you love to have on your team and absolutely hate to go up against. How Murray fares against him will go a long way towards determining if San Antonio comes away from this one with a win.
Matchups against Kawhi and the Clippers are going to mean more for Spurs fans than most games will. Not only are these two teams near the top of the Conference, but the well-documented history between Leonard and the Spurs makes every matchup between these two teams must-see television.
Leonard even sat out the Clippers’ most recent game against the Jazz so the Spurs will get to go up against him after a day’s rest. The two Western Conference title contenders face off Haloween night at 9:30 PM CT.