The debate is finally going to be settled where it should be settled – on the court.
Chris Paul and Tony Parker are considered two of the top five point guards in the NBA along with Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo.
Some say they’re the top two. They’re generals in their own way.
Paul leads and motivates the Los Angeles Clippers with an iron hand, is the mayor of Lob City and closes games with great decision making and precision.
Parker leads and motivates the San Antonio Spurs with flair and creativity, gets to the rim at will and leads an offense that is arguably the most potent in the NBA.
The question is which one will do more to help their team get one step closer to the NBA Finals?
Will that ultimately determine who’s better? No, but people can use the results of this series as a barometer to pick one over the other.
(5) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (1) San Antonio Spurs
Game 1: Today, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
How they got here: L.A. Clippers def (4) Memphis, 4-3, San Antonio def. (6) Utah, 4-0.
How they REALLY got here: When the Clippers came back from a 27-point deficit to beat the Grizzlies in Game 1 in Memphis, it put a seed of doubt in the Grizzlies and gave the Clips the confidence it could win the series. Hard to come back from that if the teams are evenly matched. As for San Antonio, this was a case in which the Spurs had a better team and Utah had to fight to get in the playoffs. The Jazz were going to lose the series anyway, but getting blown out in Game 1 and Game 2 in San Antonio sent the message they had no chance of winning the series.
Biggest concern for the Clippers: Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich. Parker and Popovich may be the best point guard-head coach tandem in the NBA. Pop is going to make the necessary adjustments during the games, not just after the games. Parker is playing his best basketball of his career on a team that has a healthy Manu Ginobili and a rejuvenated Tim Duncan.
Biggest concern for Spurs: Chris Paul and the Clippers fast-break game. If Paul comes out aggressive in Game 1 and gets Parker in foul trouble early, that could set a tone for the series. While San Antonio has traditionally been defensive oriented, it likes to run and gun more than it ever has under Popovich. Can they run against the Clippers?
Series prediction: Spurs in 6. The Clippers are just in the early stages of becoming a championship contender. Paul is a great cornerstone to make a four to five-year run at a title, but the Spurs are too balanced for Los Angeles. They’ve won their last 14 games, have three superstars and their role players truly understand and thrive in their roles. The Clippers are on the rise, but the Spurs are already there.