[Editor's Note: Edg5 has gladly taken on the challenge of arguing both sides of this story. His case for the Grizzlies is here. -jrw]
The Spurs are resting while the Clippers and the Grizzlies are battling it out for the privilege of playing the good guys in the conference semifinals. The other LA team is leading 3-1 and looks like it might eliminate the team that shocked the Spurs last post season. To that, I say: bring on Lob City.
I really want the Clips to advance for a number of reasons. Chief among them is Chris Paul. I really, really have a Jason Terry-esque dislike for CP3 but nobody can deny that he's an elite player. Watching Tony Parker go against him is always a joy, especially since our wee
French Fry Freedom Point Guard always seems to rise to the challenge. The media is catching on to the fact that the Spurs are for real and watching Tony outplay media darling Chris Paul would be too much even for the most anti-Spurs fans and analysts out there to ignore.
I mention the media because we've been hearing rumors about the Spurs demise for a long time now and that's the narrative the talking heads have been sticking with this season, even after it was clear that this team should be the favorite to win it all. With all the hype Lob City got before they played a game together, beating them would be the Spurs' way of saying "how you like me now" to the columnists that accused them of being pretenders and the Clippers of being the rising power in the West. Also, as the alleged antithesis of the boring, slow and unathletic style the Spurs are supposed to stand for, the Clippers would make for the perfect opponent to beat to cement the Spurs' status as the killjoys of the NBA. First we killed 7SOL, now we are going after Lob City.
As for the match-up in and on itself, the Spurs would have the upper hand. You can call Paul and Tony a wash. Tim is a much better player than Blake Griffin (defense counts) and our shifty guards and resourceful bigs would get the undisciplined DeAndre Jordan in foul trouble every game. That means playing time for Reggie Evans and our old friend Kenyon Martin. Meanwhile the Spurs have a big man rotation of Diaw, Blair, Bonner and Splitter.
Then there's perennial wild card Manu Ginobili. The Clips started the season without a shooting guard (no, Billups and Foye don't count) and have added the defensively-challenged Nick Young to the mix. To make matters worse, Caron Butler is playing with a broken hand. Do any of those guys have a chance in hell of stopping Manu?
As it has been the case the entire season, the Spurs would have the upper hand when it comes to bench depth. The Clippers bring some quality veterans off the bench in Martin and Mo Williams, but after that you have guys like Young and Evans. There's no way those guys can stop the second wave of assault the Spurs' bench represents.
If the two teams meet, Paul will play to his fantastic standards, Griffin will dunk a lot, Martin will try to unsuccessfully intimidate Manu and every Spur will wear a cup. You know what else will happen? The Spurs are going to beat the Clippers. Pop is going to coach circles around Vinny Del Negro and the Spurs' beautiful motion offense with all its pick and roll variations and drive and kick awesomeness will destroy their iffy defense. Also, what's the over under for corner threes Leonard, Green and Jackson are going to hit? ‘Cause I'm taking the over.
So there you have it. Bring on the Clips and lets give Griffin the first taste of what the other great players in the league have suffered for years: a good, old fashioned Spurs whooping.