In the stacked Western Conference, there is not going to be an easy road to the Finals this year.
After the Clippers won 14 of their last 15 games, they thought the start of their path would have an easier beginning than having to play the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the first round, but, alas, Wednesday's games dropped the Clippers to the No. 3 seed and the Spurs to No. 6.
According to oddsmakers at betting website SportsBettingDime.com, the Clippers have 25/1 odds of winning a championship, while the Spurs have 5/1 odds. The site lists the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors as the teams most likely to win the title, at 2/1 odds.
The site has the Warriors listed as the most likely team to win the Western Conference at 5/6 odds, followed by the Spurs at 5/2 odds and the Clippers at 5/1 odds.
The Clippers open their first-round playoff series against the Spurs at Staples Center on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
The Spurs have won five NBA championships, while the Clippers have never gotten past the second round of the playoffs in their 45-year franchise history.
"They have an advantage over every team playing, not just us," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said of the Spurs. "They have an advantage over everybody. They have won titles together, and that you cannot knock off. They can be down 20 in a game, they won't be fazed. It can be a one-point game, they won't be fazed. They've been through every possible situation you probably can go through in a tight game, in a blowout, in a comeback game, and there's nothing we [can do]."
So how do you defend that?
"You're not going to defend that," Rivers said. "We're going to defend them, and that's all we can do. We can play our game. The whole key for us is to be us."