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2017 NBA Playoff Preview: Western Conference

Pondering each of the four first-round series in the West.

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2017 NBA Playoff Preview: LA Clippers vs. Utah

We’ll find out yet again here if defense really wins championships (or playoff series). Keep an eye on Gordon Hayward, the former Butler Bulldog now leading Utah. He’s been the main man for the Jazz, though get a load of what the Clippers have on their end. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are formidable players, though DeAndre Jordan is also worth a mention. Jordan had 18 points and 17 boards in the season finale a few days ago. That was in 36 minutes; he could have gone 20-20 if he played more.

You may wonder why the Clippers then don’t get many offensive rebounds relative to the rest of the league. It’s because they don’t miss a lot of shots. Only the Warriors make more buckets, whereas the Jazz are the more defensive team. Some would say this gives Utah the upper hand, but the Clippers will throw a bunch at them to corral.

2017 NBA Playoff Preview: San Antonio vs. Memphis

This is far from a race to the bottom, but it kind of feels that way. We only say that because neither team played their top basketball in the closing days of the season. The Spurs were 5-5 to close out the year, but Memphis was even worse at 3-7.

One thing you might not see in excessive amounts? Points, being that the Spurs are the NBA’s best defensive team, and Memphis is in the top ten. Their four games were low-scoring relative to the NBA’s averages, and in some cases very low. This is fairly recent sample size as well, as all four games were February 6 and after.

Still, woe upon anyone who counts out the Spurs in the playoffs. How many times do they need to make a deep run before you believe them?

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