3. The road to the Finals is much easier
We wanted to use this slide for something like the Lakers’ star players being better or the team being more versatile in who they can bring in during what situations, but when analyzing it, nothing is more of an advantage than the road the two teams will have to go on to get to the Western Conference Finals.
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Of course, the Clippers could help themselves by getting to the second seed in the West and guaranteeing home-court advantage in the first two rounds, but as of right now, they have a tough first and second-round matchup.
They could play a variety of teams in the first round if they end up being the third seed in the West. The Rockets, Jazz, Thunder and Mavericks could all be the sixth seed and every single team presents its own problems.
It is not crazy to think that every single one of those teams could at least take the Clippers to six games. They won’t win the series, but they will put added mileage on the Clippers’ legs in the first round, which is big for a team that has been resting all year.
Then, assuming they win in the first round as well, the Clippers would have to open the second round in Denver against the Nuggets, which is no easy feat. After six hard-fought games in the first round having to play in the Mile High City, on the road, is no easy task.
While unlikely, it would not be completely inconceivable to see the Clippers get in one of their funks and go down 0-2 in Denver, which opens Pandora’s Box of problems. Either way, there is a good chance that the Clippers would have to play at least three games in Denver.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are hoping for the Memphis Grizzlies, who are the current eighth seed, are inexperienced, and should easily be swept by the Lakers. The Blazers and Pelicans would be interesting first-round series and the Spurs would be a walk in the park.
The Lakers will then get the winner of the four and five, which right now would be the Rockets or Jazz. Just like the Clippers in the first round, this could be tough for the Lakers, but having those first two home games in the second round is huge and could allow the Lakers to jump out to a 2-0 lead and take some pressure of the series.
Then the two sides would meet in LA and while there would be no traveling, we all know that every single game would essentially be a Lakers home game.
As much as Clipper fans hate to admit it, LA is, and always will be, the Lakers’ town. The Clippers would have to play up to seven games without a single home crowd, which after the first two rounds, might be too much to ask.