Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs: Game 1 preview

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers says the road to the NBA title includes beating the San Antonio Spurs

The Clippers will host the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Sunday at Staples Center at 7:30 p.m.

The Spurs have won five NBA championships, including last season. The Clippers have never made it past the second round of the playoffs in their 45-year history.

"They are the best," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said of the Spurs. "I've said it before I thought we were going to play them: At some point someone is going to have to beat San Antonio in the West to win. The world champions are in our conference, make no mistake about that."

The Clippers finished the regular season as the No. 3 seed with 56 wins, having won 14 of their last 15 games. The Spurs finished as the No. 6 season with 55 wins, having won 11 straight before losing to the New Orleans Pelicans in their final game of the regular season.

That final loss by San Antonio set up the Clippers-Spurs matchup.

"It's just life," Rivers said of the task facing the Clippers. "Why worry about it? We did what we were supposed to do, we won the games. They won, until the last one, they won the games. I've been saying it all year: You're going to play someone hard and they tell me we're playing the Spurs."

The Spurs and the Clippers split their four regular-season games this season, the Spurs winning the first two, the Clippers winning the final pair.

Against the Spurs this season, the Clippers averaged 106.8 points, shot 48.2% from the field and 35.6% from beyond the three-point line. They averaged 44.8 rebounds, 23.8 assists and 13.8 turnovers.

Against the Clippers this season, the Spurs averaged 103.5 points, shot 48% from the field and 35% from beyond the three-point line. They averaged 36.5 rebounds, 27.3 assists and 13.3 turnovers.

The Clippers have met the Spurs in the playoffs once before, in 2012 when San Antonio swept them out of the second round in four games.

Since then, the Clippers have gained two more years of playoff experience.

"We're ready and willing to play anyone," Rivers said. "But you can't teach anyone that until you win. Only one team really has that as much as everyone says they do. Only one team absolutely knows they can get it done; everybody else is just guessing."

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