The Clippers have known at the start of the week that they were a lock for the 2012 NBA Playoffs. The tortured Clipper fans who have waited 6 long years to make their return to the playoffs have become jubilant but the Clippers players know that they have a lot of work to do before the playoffs start. Playoff position is up for grabs and it’s anyone’s guess how the matchups will be when the playoffs start next week but the Clippers have done well to try and assure themselves homecourt advantage for the first round. Here’s how they fared this week:
Sat 14 vs Golden State W 112-104
Mon 16 vs Oklahoma City W 92-77
Wed 18 @ Denver W 104-98
Thu 19 @ Phoenix L 90-93
The Clippers took care of business at home and had a very impressive win over the Oklahoma City Thunder after defeating them once on the road the previous week. They followed that up with another impressive win at Denver two nights later when Kenyon Martin made two huge plays in the waning moments of the game to which Chris Paul noted in the post game interview that Martin had ‘saved his tail’.
Unfortunately the following night in Phoenix, the Suns were fighting for their playoff lives and despite being without Grant Hill, they were able to win a close game that some would say had some questionable calls down the stretch. Regardless, the Clippers are in good position to finish out the season strong.
There were times when they lacked any sort of semblance of defense but at times they were able to move quickly on rotations and even kept the Oklahoma City Thunder and their high powered offense to only 25 points in the second half of their win on Monday night.
However, there are still too many times as a result of the simplistic offense where there is no action at all on the weak side when Chris Paul or any other ball-handler is working at the perimeter which leads to a shot hoisted for the sake of beating the shot clock. Then of course there are the free-throw shooting woes and the hard fouls on Blake Griffin but these are recurring themes that have been seen throughout the season. What may or may not work in their favor is their slow-paced half court offense may work in their favor in the playoffs as the pace tends to slow down and possessions lessen in the postseason.
We can postulate as to who the Clippers will face in the first and even subsequent rounds should they make it that far but there are a number of things that can happen between now and next week so it is best to see what happens before we take a look into which team the Clippers will face in the first round. It’s an exciting time as the regular season winds down and the expectations for the Clippers have never been this high and neither has their winning percentage at the end of the season.
Check back at Hoops Talk Nation when we talk Clippers and Playoffs!