Last year, the Los Angeles Clippers saw their postseason run shrouded in scandal, as racist remarks from team owner Donald Sterling went public. The team infamously turned their warm-ups inside out and played through Sterling being banned, as well as uncertainty about the team’s future. There were no such distractions this season, as a competitive Western Conference and an uncharacteristically low seeding for the defending champion San Antonio Spurs provided one of the most highly contested first-round matchups in recent NBA playoff history.
While Clippers’ All Star point guard Chris Paul’s season ended with atypical, turnover-prone play last season, this season found him scoring the go-ahead basket with one second remaining to send the Spurs into a summer full of uncertainty. Paul banked in a driving layup over Tim Duncan and Danny Green to seal a 111 – 109 victory over the Spurs. Despite a hamstring pull, Paul finished with 27 points and six assists.
Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, and Green are all set to enter free agency, with some expecting the 39-year-old Duncan to retire. Meanwhile, the Clippers will prepare for a second round matchup against MVP candidate James Harden and the Houston Rockets. The first game of the Clippers versus Rockets series is scheduled for May 4 at 6:30 p.m. in Houston.