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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Clippers

The Spurs return to San Antonio on the second night of a back-to-back to play a very familiar Clippers team.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs Los Angeles Clippers

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Date: 11/05/16, Time: 7:30 PM Spurs Time

At this point there aren't many surprises with the Clippers, who are courting death under the Lob City banner for a sixth year. Injuries, natural and unnatural, have held them back in recent seasons, and their bench is once again replete with low-upside veterans.

If you squint hard enough, though, you can see why some had pegged them as the Warriors' strongest challengers in the West. They have a relatively high floor offensively and defensively, which should translate to another 50- to 55-win season, and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have the ability to take their games to a very high level, when inspired.

The Chris Paul-DeAndre Jordan pick and roll has perennially been one of the more effective plays in the NBA, and the Clippers are great at using Griffin as a secondary playmaker who's equally adept at finding his center for the alley oop. While not perfect on the defensive end, Jordan certainly has to be accounted for when players attack the rim.

The Spurs have had success, however, in stretching the floor against intimidating bigs like Hassan Whiteside and Rudy Gobert already this season. We saw some more flashes of what their versatile frontcourt is capable of last night, such as in this play by David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon.

Both teams leaning on bench production

The Spurs are looking forward to having Danny Green back, and there's the whole We Need to Talk About Tony thing, so it's no surprise that their starting lineup situation is fairly unsettled.

The Clippers, though, retained the same starting five as last year and, as John Schumann noted, had been one of the worst until a strong performance in Memphis last night. Even stranger, their reserve group of Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, Wesley Johnson, Marreese Speights, and Raymond Felton has a net rating of plus 19.7. Both should regress to their respective means eventually, but it'll be interesting to see these two kind-of-weird benches match up.

Another test for the Spurs' makeshift backcourt

Pop will likely be rolling with some combination of Patty Mills, Kyle Anderson and Jonathon Simmons to start tonight. On paper, that's a big advantage for the Clippers' duo of Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, but San Antonio has been able to get by, thanks in large part to Kawhi Leonard assuming a larger role as a do-it-all playmaker. I could make this entire preview about him, but suffice it to say he's been incredible thus far this year.

Chris Paul versus Pau Gasol in the pick and roll

There are infinite universes out there, but in none of those timelines does it work out well for the Spurs if Paul goes at Pau all night.

This will be a SEGABABA for both teams, with San Antonio returning from Utah and Los Angeles making the trip from Memphis. The Clippers are almost always a tough out, but the Spurs will have the best player on the floor, and I'm not picking against them two games in a row.


San Antonio Spurs

(Record: 5-1)

Los Angeles Clippers

(Record: 4-1)

November 5, 2016

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

7:30 PM CDT



Tony Parker


Chris Paul

Kyle Anderson


J.J. Redick

Kawhi Leonard


Luc Mbah a Moute

LaMarcus Aldridge


Blake Griffin

Pau Gasol


DeAndre Jordan

Vegas line: Spurs by 4.5.

Game prediction: Spurs by 7.

For the Clippers fans' perspective, visit Clips Nation.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

As always, PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. But if you're not able to log in here, you can try the Fanvana app which helps connect sports fans and was created by a fellow Spurs fan. Check out the free app on iOS or Android to discover other Spurs fans and join the live chatter for tonight's game. You can follow PtR's tweet stream directly on Fanvana as the game unfolds.