The matchup of the game when the San Antonio Spurs (43-12) visit the Los Angeles Clippers (39-17) will be between Tony Parker and Chris Paul.
Both men are the heart of their teams' offense, which will play a huge part tonight. Both players are having incredible seasons with Paul averaging 16.6ppg and 9.6rpg while Parker is having an impressive MVP like season with 21ppg and 7.7apg (career highs). These teams have met two times already this season with the Clippers getting wins over San Antonio to create a 2-0 regular season record against the Spurs. If the Spurs want to strike some doubt in the Clippers if they were to meet in the playoffs, S.A. must get a win today to try to have a chance of evening out the series by the end of the year.
What Parker must do on offense:
With Paul on the court, Parker shot 50% (4-8) in the painted area while only shooting 25% (2-8) from mid range. Parker must shoot better from mid range to open up the paint for drives. If Parker can successfully shoot a better percentage from mid range, his driving will command the attention of the defense and leave three point shooters open for clean shots. It will also make Paul use his legs more on defense while playing Parker close instead of playing back and forcing him to shoot.
What Parker must do on defense:
With Parker on the court, Paul shot just 33% (2-6) from the painted area, but he did most of his damage from mid range where he shot 100% (8-8) so far this season. Parker and the Spurs need to force Paul to try to create his own shot and leading him to the defensive help. With Paul driving to the paint more and taking a harder shot over a big, he'll be using up his energy with those steps over shooting a jumper. Paul trying to shoot closer shots will also mean that Parker could streak out during the inbounds over Paul shooting a jumper and being able to recover on defense.