Spurs vs. Clippers: What the Numbers Tell Us about What Might Happen

The Griffin-Paul Clippers have been around only one season and the Spurs have played them 3 times. It's not a lot to go on but it's something. I'll take a look at the numbers from the first three games and, based on those 3 games, make some predictions about the upcoming series.

Follow along...

The Spurs and Clippers played on Dec. 28, February 18 and March 9. Three very different results: first a blow out win for the Spurs at home; next a regulation tie in LA which the Spurs won in overtime; finally a blow out win for the Clippers in San Antonio against a Parker-less Spurs team (injury). So one pattern emerges before getting into the details: with Tony Parker the Spurs were 2-0 against the Clips, without Parker the Spurs were 0-1.

Which players were most effective in these 3 games? One way to measure this is with plus/minus. I looked at players who played at least 10 minutes in at least 2 of the 3 games and computed average plus/minus numbers for each. On this measure the Spurs, in order, were:

Parker, +18 average (2 games)

Duncan, +13 ave (3 games)

Blair, +5.33 (3 games)

Leonard, +2.67 (3)

Jefferson, +1.67 (3), no longer with Spurs

Ginobili, -1.33 (3)

Bonner, -1.67 (3)

Green, -3 (2)

Splitter, -4.5 (2)

Here are the plus/minus scores for the Clippers:

Foye, -0.67 (3 games)

Williams, -3 (3)

Butler, -6 (3)

Griffin, -7.33 (3)

Paul, -7.67 (3)

Jordan, -10.5 (2)

What do these numbers tell us? Parker and Duncan - Surprise! - are the pillars for the Spurs. When they are in the game the score tilts in our direction. The same is not true for the Clippers stars, at least when facing the Spurs. Randy Foye, Mo Williams and Caron Butler had better plus minus numbers than Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. DeAndre Jordan was ineffective.

Where did the teams gets their points? For the Spurs they came from Parker (22 ave. in 2 games), Ginobili (16), Green (13.5 in two games with significant minutes), Duncan (12.67 ave), Blair (12) and the departed Jefferson (10.67). For the Clippers it was Paul (22.33), Griffin (18.33), Williams (17.67), Butler (13), Foye (12.67) and Jordan (8).

The Clippers generate steals and blocks from Paul and Jordan. The Spurs got blocks from Splitter (3 in 2 games) and Duncan (2 in 3 games) and steals from Green and Ginobili.


1. Blair will get significant minutes. The Clippers are not huge and lack the height advantage to abuse Blair. He had the 3rd highest plus/minus behind Parker and Duncan in their 3 previous games against the Clippers.

2. Parker (especially) and Duncan will play a lot of minutes unless the Spurs build large leads.

3. The Clippers second unit may prove more effective than the first, especially with the banged up Paul, Griffin and Butler. Of course the Spurs second unit is tough but the 3 regular season games still point suggest the Clippers may do okay with their bench support.

4. DeAndre Jordan will not have a great series.

5. Leonard will be solid defensively and get little recognition.

6. Spurs will little trouble with the banged up Clippers and win in 5.

This is fan-created content on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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