LA Clippers: Potential matchups for new-look NBA playoffs

LA Clippers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
LA Clippers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

In a scenario where the league decides to look past conferences and place the top eight teams into the playoffs, the Clippers would come in as the fourth seed and face the Boston Celtics in the opening round.

The Celtics are the first potential opening-round playoff matchup with the talent and the depth to potentially hang with the Clippers for a full series. Both of their head-to-head matchups this season have been down-to-the-wire, with the Clippers taking a 107-104 overtime win in Los Angeles on November 20 and Boston winning at home in double overtime 141-133 on February 13.

The teams are incredibly evenly matched in terms of their Offensive and Defensive ratings and their league ranks. The Clippers have the third-best Offensive Rating in the NBA at 113.6 and are fifth-best with a 107.2 Defensive Rating. Boston is just behind them on offense with a fifth-ranked 112.9 rating and just ahead on defense with a rating of 106.8, good for fourth-best in the league.

Like the Clippers, Boston also boasts a deep roster mixed with star-power and key role players and their consistent play in recent years means that even young players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are not strangers to getting meaningful minutes in the playoffs.

The Clippers loss did come at the end of four-game-in-six-night road trip just before the All-Star break. It was also just the team’s third game with the newly acquired Marcus Morris after trading for the forward on February 6.

Since then, the Clippers have had more time to come together and gel in what would now be their “final form” for the playoff run. And even with Boston’s star-power and depth, the Clippers still have the best two players in the series on their side in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Hopefully that would give them the advantage they need in what would certainly be a tougher-than-usual first round matchup against the Boston Celtics.