It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it. Right now the Los Angeles Clippers are currently sitting in fourth place in the West and are looking at a showdown with the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round.
The Clippers are only a half game behind the Los Angeles Lakers but they have essentially run out of time. The Lakers only have one game left on their schedule and it is against the lowly Sacramento Kings. The Clippers have two tougher games left on their schedule since they have to play the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks on the road.
And a tie won’t help the Clippers since the Lakers won the head-to-head matchup 2-1. That means the Lakers would have to lose on Thursday and the Clippers would have to win both of their remaining games in order to win the Pacific division and move into that third playoff slot.
The Lakers knew that which is why they fought so hard to stave off the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night. The Lakers stormed back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter of that game to force it into overtime.
The Thunder weren’t going down without a fight but after it was all said and done, the Lakers pulled it out in double-overtime with a 114-106 victory. That win set them up to easily win their division as long as they don’t have a setback versus the Kings on Thursday.
The Clippers will play on Tuesday and Wednesday so they will have to win both games and hope that the Kings help them out on Thursday. Whichever team wins the division will be looking at a first round matchup versus the Denver Nuggets.
Both the Clippers and the Lakers won their series with the Nuggets 3-1 and both also won their series with the Grizzlies 2-1. Many believe that the Grizzlies are the more dangerous postseason threat though due to the fact that they are built more for the playoffs and already have a major playoff win to their credit knocking off the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs last year.
The Lakers should be even more fearful that the Clippers since trading for Ramon Sessions hasn’t cured their problems guarding the point guard position. The Grizzlies’ Mike Conley is a blur and the Grizzlies have the size to match up with the Lakers in the post.
The Clippers aren’t worried about a point guard duel with the Grizzlies since they have Chris Paul manning the position but their front court of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan may be overmatched by the size and low-post skills of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
But as I said earlier somebody has to do it and right now the job looks like it will fall to the Clippers. Teams may dread having to play the Grizzlies but at least Memphis won’t surprise anyone this year.
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at RHall_TPFB@Yahoo.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.