Clippers-Blazers: 5 advantages L.A. has for NBA playoffs

Nov 24, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers with guard Chris Paul (3) and forward Blake Griffin (32) in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers with guard Chris Paul (3) and forward Blake Griffin (32) in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 27, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) and guard Chris Paul (3) react during the first half during of an NBA game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Nuggets 105-90. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) and guard Chris Paul (3) react during the first half during of an NBA game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Nuggets 105-90. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

A strong post/pick-and-roll game

As was partly covered in the last slide, the Clippers having an elite frontcourt talent gives them an edge over the Blazers. And while that’s an obvious advantage at face value, it becomes even more important when considering the nature of a playoff series and the intensity at which both teams will be playing.

For Portland, their reliance on perimeter play and a couple of star scorers is even more notable than the Clippers. Lillard and McCollum combined for 45.9 of the Blazers’ 105.1 points per game this season, with no other player on the team averaging more than 10.3 (that would be Allen Crabbe off the bench).

So, rather than the Clippers simply having more talent at more positions across their roster, which ultimately makes them favorites to win the series, the different ways in which they can score gives them a major advantage.

Of course, the Clippers have been one of the worst teams in the league in terms of points in the paint this season. Although, when countering in the fact that Griffin has only played 35 games, it’s a little more forgivable. Yet, as he comes back and with the other weapons they have, there are still a multitude of ways to score rather than a backcourt creating shots for itself.

Off-ball, J.J. Redick is one of the deadliest weapons in the NBA, averaging 16.3 points per game with a league-best 47.5 percent stroke from three.

As Griffin gradually finds form, with his combination of mid-range shooting, post-up ability, driving, and rolls to the basket, he can score in more ways than any other the Blazers’ frontcourt. Unlike the Blazers, the Clippers have a go-to option inside for when the perimeter game isn’t working at its best.

And alongside Griffin, as always, will be Jordan, gobbling up offensive rebounds and maintaining a terrifying pick-and-roll threat. With a ridiculous league-best field goal percentage of 82.6 on rolls to the basket this season (per NBA.com), Jordan is almost impossible to stop when he has enough space to fly to the basket and receive a lob from Paul.

Again, this is an asset the Blazers don’t have to nearly the same extent.

Make no mistake, though; the Blazers are a top offensive team. They ranked 7th in offensive efficiency just 0.4 points per 100 possessions behind the Clippers, so there’s absolutely no doubt they’ll be able to participate in a shootout.

However, the Blazers rely more on their top guards than the Clippers, and they also have another key disadvantage which we’ll get onto now.

Next: A superior defense