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Spurs focus shifts to Western Conference Finals opponent

The San Antonio Spurs are headed to their third straight Western Conference Finals after closing out the Portland Trail Blazers with a 104-82 victory in Game 5 on Wednesday night. The focus for head coach Gregg Popovich and his staff will now shift to preparing his team for Conference Finals series against either the Los Angeles Clippers or Oklahoma City Thunder. But who do Spurs fans want?

I have already run down the Spurs season series against the Thunder in a previous post on Project Spurs earlier in the season, but how do the Silver & Black match-up against the Clippers? Below I broke down the season series and give a little insight into who fans want the Spurs to face.

Game #1: Spurs at Clippers – December 16, 2013 (LAC 115-92)

Both teams came into the game having a day off between games after finishing a stretch of three games in four nights. Los Angeles would be without Matt Barnes who was sidelined with an eye injury. San Antonio started strong and held a seven point lead after the first quarter. The second quarter would be a different story as the Clippers outscored San Antonio 34-21. They would pull away with a 37-22 fourth quarter en route to the 115-95 win. Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 27 points, while Chris Paul added 23. Tim Duncan led the way for the Spurs with 17 points and Manu Ginobili scored 16 off the bench. San Antonio committed 22 turnovers in the loss and the Clippers led in fast break points 18-7.

Game #2: Clippers at Spurs – January 4, 2014 (SA 116-92)

The Clippers came into the game on the second night of a back-to-back after beating the Dallas Mavericks the previous night. Los Angeles would be without both Chris Paul (shoulder) and J.J. Redick (ankle), while the Spurs were without Boris Diaw (illness). San Antonio led by 20 after the first quarter and never looked back as they cruised to the 116-92 win. Tiago Splitter led the Silver & Black in scoring with 22 points, while Duncan added 19. Tony Parker had a quiet night with 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting.

Los Angeles was led by Jamal Crawford who finished with 24 points and Griffin posted 19 in the loss. After the game, Popovich commented the game ‘did not count’ due to the fact Paul didn’t play. The Spurs dominated the paint and outscored the Clippers 76-44 in points in the paint and led by as much as 37 points.

Game #3: Spurs at Clippers – February 18, 2014 (SA 113-103)

The third and final meeting between the two teams came after the All-Star break. The Spurs were without Tony Parker (rest), Tiago Splitter (shin) and Kawhi Leonard (broken hand) and the Clippers got Chris Paul back from his shoulder injury. Once again, San Antonio held the advantage in points in the paint 50-40 and led by as much as 13 points. Patty Mills led the way for the Spurs with 25 points and Marco Belinelli chipped in 20.

Griffin led all scorers with 35 points on 14-of-24 shooting and Crawford added 24. Paul struggled and had 11 points on 1-of-10 shooting.

In three games against the Spurs, Griffin averaged 27 points, while Paul averaged 17 in two games against the Silver & Black.

Parker averaged 12.5 points in two games against Los Angeles, while Duncan averaged 18.3 points in three meetings.

But who do Spurs fans want to face? I asked some fans via Twitter and below are some of the responses:

@andreglenn03: The Thunder. It would be a battle between the two best teams and a rematch from the series in 2012.

@matt194z: thunder. Imagine the road to 5 required beating the two superstars. (Really want clips but thunder are winning

@thehalestone: Gimmie Westbroke. Eventually, that clown will shoot the MVP right out of the playoffs. Plus, Brooks is lost.

All in all, the Western Conference Finals will be a battle – no matter who the Spurs face. But one thing is for sure: The Road to ring No. 5 will come through the Alamo City.

Who do you want to face, Spurs fans? Thunder or Clippers?

About Stephen Anderson

New writer to the Project Spurs staff. Stephen brings his unique writing style from Minute By Minute Sports, a sports blog he founded. He also has written for news websites and for UK reality TV shows. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@andersonstevem) for all the latest news on San Antonio sports.

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