The Clippers really need to win the Pacific Division if they expect to advance past the first round of the Playoffs. They are currently slated to play the Grizzlies in the first round which is a nightmare matchup especially after seeing how the Clippers reacted to the physicality of a not very physical Suns team. If the Suns can out-muscle the Clippers, then the Grizzlies can manhandle them. The combination of Zachary Randolph and Marc Gasol makes the Grizz an excellent rebounding, defensive, and physical team.
It will definitely be a challenge for the Clippers to execute their pick-and-roll with ease against the Grizzlies excellent defense, and their jump shooters will have to step up big for them to win the series.
If the Clippers overtake the Lakers for the the Pacific Division title, then they are a legitimate threat to make it past the Nuggets to the second round where they would potentially meet the Thunder who they have played well against this year as well. The playoffs are all about match-ups, and the Clippers would be much better served match-up wise as the 3-seed than the 4-seed.
The Clippers play the Hornets at home tomorrow, and then the Hawks and Knicks on the road to close out the year. The Hornets are probably the easiest win there, but the Hawks and Knicks are both playoff teams and will be tough outs. I simply don’t think the Clippers would be able to handle the Grizzlies physicality in the first round. How do you think things will shake out?