I wrote a column last week for another outlet, basically about how as long as Chris Paul is on the court, the Clippers are still getting past the Jazz and into the second round. Then they lost Game Five at HOME and I awaited the internet trolling to commence (not that any of YOU would do that of course, but ya know, there’s a few out there…). It looked pretty bad, but I calmly reminded folks that the same situation arose two years ago; pivotal Game Five loss to the San Antonio Spurs, yet CP3 grabbed the reigns and emerged from the series.
That patience was rewarded with a clutch Game Six road win in Utah to force the decisive Game Seven today at Staples Center (3:30 PM EST). Can Paul lead the Blake-less Clips to one more heroic victory, or will the younger, healthier, more defensively-stout Jazz finish of the Clippers and send the franchise re-org into immediate mass panic?
All Game Seven’s are BIG games by win-or-go-home definition, but this one FEELS bigger. Not because either have a shot against the Warriors in Round Two (they do not) but rather because this could be the end of one of the more star-crossed and disappointing NBA era’s that never quite was…
So who prevails today? Clippers or Jazz?
Today’s NBA Pick:
Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers -3.5
“Feet don’t fail me now, ha ha.” “In for a penny, in for a pound…” Pick a song lyric, cliched expression or whatever other idiom you prefer, I imagine at this point my feelings about this series have been made pretty well known across a lot of different platforms. I am not in love with the Clippers. I just am familiar with how NBA series typically evolve. Not ALWAYS, of course, but most often. The more experienced team, the veteran team, and the team with home court advantage in Game Seven USUALLY advanced.
Home teams are 101-25 in Game Sevens in NBA history. That’s over 80%. That makes a spread as slim at just 3.5 (and for the team that has CHRIS PAUL) pretty attractive. I’ll also admit, some of the “young Jazz” versus “veteran Clippers” is a little overstated given the Jazz’s acquisitions of George Hill and “Iso Joe” Johnson, who has been splendid in this series. But at the end of the day, home teams win Game Sevens. Veteran home teams with Hall of Fame point guards still in the near-prime especially don’t lose home Game Sevens.
I have been very impressed with the Jazz, and take them far more seriously as an up and coming contender than I did before the season. They are a athletic combo/scorer/defender away from being really scary. But for their first playoff run as a unit, it is asking too much to become just the 26th team in NBA history to go on the road and literally END an era of Clippers basketball.
Today’s NBA Pick: LOS ANGLES CLIPPERS -3.5