Blogtable: Upstarts Hawks And Clips

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Week 5: Still-Stumbling Lakers | Hawks vs. Clippers | Dissing D-Wade

Who has a better chance of making the conference finals: Hawks or Clippers?

Steve Aschburner: Clippers. Atlanta has an edge in terms of conference competition, in my view. But the Hawks don’t have the go-to guy I think they’d need to get through tough times in a seven-game series. They’re more of an ensemble compared to the individual talent on the Clips’ roster, and that sort of individual talent – especially Blake Griffin on search-and-destroy up front, Jamal Crawford so dangerous off the bench and most of all quarterback Chris Paul at his Manning/Brady/Brees/Rodgers best – means someone will be trouble almost every night. Then again, the Clippers? In the West finals? Whoa.

Fran Blinebury: I’m going with the Clippers, who are deeper this year.  Jamal Crawford has been a turbo-charger off the bench and Eric Bledsoe has raised his game as well. The team has made more of a commitment to defense, moving up from 18th a season ago to seventh in the league. The Clips have also proven themselves able to go toe-to-toe with the big dogs, having already beaten Miami, Atlanta, Memphis and San Antonio (twice).

Jeff Caplan: The Hawks … Psyche. Nah, it’s the Clippers, and really, what’s so surprising about this group? We know how good CP3 is. We know Blake Griffin is going to keep getting better — and he is. DeAndre Jordan is getting better. Jamal Crawford has been stupendous. They’ve got a healthy Eric Bledsoe. Should I continue? They are deep and talented. If they keep their focus throughout games they can beat anybody. They nearly won at OKC, a near-impossible mission, rallying late to take the Thunder to OT. Hey, Hawks, I love ya, but I’ve seen this before and 12-6 isn’t all that impressive. And take a quick look at point-differential. The Clips are plus-7.8, third-best in the West and the league. The Hawks? An unimpressive plus-2.9.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Easy call. The Clippers, because I don’t think they are that much of a surprise. They were in the top four of the West from the beginning, with the Thunder, Spurs and some other team from Los Angeles. The Clippers are deep, experienced, pretty good on defense, have multiple scoring options, composure, and star at two positions.

John Schuhmann: Clippers. I’m impressed with what the Hawks have done defensively, but the Clippers have been getting it done on both ends of the floor. They rank in the top seven in both offensive and defensive efficiency, which is where you need to be if you want to contend for a title. The West is stronger than the East, but the Clips are 3-1 so far against the other West contenders (OKC, San Antonio and Memphis). I don’t totally believe in their ability to get stops or execute in the halfcourt on crucial postseason possessions, but I certainly believe in the Clips more than the Hawks at this point.

Sekou Smith: That’s simple. The Clippers. They have more tools to work with in a playoff setting than the gutsy but limited Hawks. If you had asked me which of these two teams struck me as the bigger surprise, I’d say unequivocally it is the Hawks. I did not expect this team to be as good as they have been with so many new faces added to the mix and without a true anchor player being one of those additions. The Hawks have scored some quality wins, at Oklahoma City and at Memphis, but regular seasons wins in November and December and threshold wins in April, May and beyond require human resources the Hawks do not possess.


  1. feelazone182 says:

    clips will challenge the top seed of the conference, i bet for it, and clips have the greater chance than okc, spurs, & mem to win the Conference finals..& NBA FINALS.. hopefully, billups & hill will be back and will be healthy throughout the remaining of the season, so that clips will have big big big chance to be a champion this season..

  2. LobCityClips says:

    CP3 vs Lebron James in the Finals!

  3. DWADE 3 says:

    CLIPS all the way

  4. clipps89 says:

    it feels good to finally win..nobody suffered more than clipper fans..our biggest competition are the Memphis grizzlies and Thunder..

  5. AtlHawksGuy says:

    Im glad the Hawks are staying under the radar. No bandwaganers, and nobody thinks we will go anywhere. They will when the playoffs start.

    • NBA_GUY says:

      You got it right. Clippers fans are bandwagon jumpers. They get Paul, have a good season, BAM! The fans go from purple and yellow to red and white. Hawks fans are real.

  6. DWM says:

    The great underdogs are now getting their deserved success. It’s now the Clippers era.

  7. Clippers Fan says:

    It’s the Clippers who shouldn’t be on this article. The Clippers were a top four from the beginning and they are in the top four now. So, why is this a surprise? Why shouldn’t a top four side contend for the finals? The hawks are a surprise, but the other surprise should have been the Spurs as no one expected them to be still top four, let alone highest ranking.

    • Allen Iv3rson says:

      No one expected?? the spurs are consistently one of the tops teams for at least the last 10 years never having less than 50 wins in a season, always 1st or 2nd in their division these guys deserve to be in the top 4.

  8. Drew says:

    clippers? of course. but hawks? i dont think they can get past the heat or the knicks. maybe not even the celtics.

  9. CP3toStayinLA says:

    The Clips are a force to be reckon with. They can definitely make the finals this year.

  10. clips says:

    man i love my clips. its time

  11. Game Time says:

    This should have been a quesiton about the Clippers and Brooklyn. We all now the Hawks won’t make the ECF.

    • slider821 says:

      I know, I had to re-read that a few times. Hawks, really? They should try to fill seats in their stadium before thinking about ECFs. Move that team to Seattle, people in ATL don’t care about the team and their team is decent. It’s embarrasing to watch the hawks and see 80% of the first 5 rows of seats empty.

    • NBA_GUY says:

      Band wagon jumper, it’s “KNOW” not “NOW”