Clippers team has finally grown up.
You can beat champions only with the knockout, and that's exactly what Paul and company have done.
One of the best 1 round series in recent history is over. After 7 dramatic games, big play after big play, but in the end only one team can be winner and this time Cp3 proved why many people believe he is best clutch player in the league right now.
But... Clippers must archive this epic win as soon as possible.
First and burning question will be, did they paid the too high price for the win?
The starters have played too many minutes, and they must be exhausted. Paul is already questionable for game 1 with a hamstring injury, and even if he's able to play, they will need his usual numbers and floor leadership.
On the other side, Houston didn't have hard work against Dallas. They are well rested and ready.
The result in the regular season is 2-2, without Dwight Howard. So it will be interesting how he will match Deandre Jordan who had 18 rebounds per games against the Rockets.
Clippers knows how they can slow down James Harden with aggressive high double teams on pick and roll, where the length of Deandre Jordan comes to the fore.
Ariza can be the X factor, with all the attention on James Harden, he will have plenty open shots from the perimeter.
Clippers will have to use their bench much more in this series, so one more chance for Smith and Brewer. Can they continue their domination?
On the other side Blake Griffin will have one more favorable match up, he proved against the Spurs that he is ready to use it consistently. Terrence Jones will have significant problems to keep him out of the paint. He is pretty unstable in the defense even against less dangerous player than Griffin.
Healthy Chris Paul can do whatever he wants against the Rockets. Duo Terry and Prigioni is arguably the worst one in the NBA to guard CP3. McHale will have to improvise big time here. There is no way to hide them in the defense, so I suppose we'll see a lot of Brewer in the action.
JJ Redick will also be a player to stop. Even against the excellent defense of San Antonio, he was over 40% behind the arc. There is no reason to expect anything less than that.
It will be exciting to see how will Clippers follow the fast pace of the game, they also prefer it, but how much energy they have in the tank?
Spencer Hawes and Turkoglu played combined 35 minutes in whole series against the Spurs !? Is this time for them to earn their salaries?
Fadeaway Prediction by Steph: Clippers in 7 games.