National Basketball Association
Preview
San Antonio at L.A. Clippers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Sunday, April 19, 2015
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

The San Antonio Spurs are red-hot entering the postseason and their hopes of making another title run begin Sunday when they visit the third-seeded Los Angeles Clippers in the opening game of the first-round Western Conference series. Defending champion San Antonio won 11 consecutive contests before losing its regular-season finale against New Orleans and plummeting to the No. 6 seed.

Los Angeles also finished the season with a torrid stretch by winning its final seven games and 14 of its last 15. The two teams squared off in the second round of the 2012 postseason and San Antonio swept the four-game series, and Clippers players like center DeAndre Jordan haven’t forgotten that feeling. “They know what it takes to win a championship and they know how to turn it on,” Jordan told reporters. “For us to be a championship team, we have to be that way and better, especially against a team that’s been together so long.” The Spurs are in the playoffs for the 18th consecutive season and have won five NBA titles.

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Southwest (San Antonio), Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE SPURS (55-27): San Antonio’s impressive finishing charge included winning 21 of their final 25 games as the club transitioned to small forward Kawhi Leonard serving as the centerpiece of the offense. The 23-year-old Leonard was NBA Finals MVP last season so he’s certainly up to the task and displayed that by averaging 19.3 points over the final 24 contests. The veteran core of power forward Tim Duncan, point guard Tony Parker and reserve shooting guard Manu Ginobili are well accustomed to handling the postseason pressure while remaining productive players.

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (56-26): Los Angeles was hoping to avoid the Spurs in the first round but the tightly packed West was a revolving door over the final few weeks and it ended up with these two squads squaring off. “They’re the champs until somebody knocks them off,” shooting guard Jamal Crawford told reporters. “Nobody’s going to get to the Finals without going through the Spurs. All roads lead through them anyway.” Crawford’s tender calf muscle is healing but the Clippers haven’t missed his production with starter J.J. Redick (franchise-record 200 3-pointers) playing so well.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The teams split four regular-season meetings with each recording one road win.

2. Clippers PG Chris Paul averaged 19.8 points and 10 assists against the Spurs in the regular-season series.

3. Spurs C Tiago Splitter (calf) is probable after missing the final six games of the regular season.

PREDICTION: Spurs 103, Clippers 101
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
San Antonio 55-27 L1 33-8 22-19 4-1 51-26 8-8 32-20
L.A. Clippers 56-26 W7 30-11 26-15 8-7 48-19 12-4 37-15
Last Meeting
San Antonio L.A. Clippers
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
2/19/15 SA 115 LAC 119 115 38 51.2 119 43 54.5
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
San Antonio T. Duncan 30 85.7 5
L.A. Clippers J. Crawford 26 53.3 5
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
San Antonio T. Duncan 11 0 11
L.A. Clippers D. Jordan 18 5 13
Assists Player  
San Antonio T. Parker 13
L.A. Clippers C. Paul 16
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
San Antonio T. Duncan 1098 51.1 238
L.A. Clippers C. Paul 1670 48.2 310
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
San Antonio T. Duncan 727 175 552
L.A. Clippers D. Jordan 1295 410 885
Assists Player  
San Antonio T. Parker 361
L.A. Clippers C. Paul 901
Quickchart Matchup
San Antonio Off vs  L.A. Clippers Defense
103.2 Points For
100.1 Points Against
46.8 FG%
44.2 FG%
43.6 Reb
42.9 Reb
L.A. Clippers Off vs  San Antonio Defense
106.7 Points For
97.0 Points Against
47.3 FG%
44.4 FG%
42.9 Reb
42.1 Reb