Ed Davis spoke up about the impending Clippers-Blazers first-round matchup last night, telling members of the media that the Clippers are one of his team's least-liked opponents and that they intend to make the series "ugly".
Ed Davis said the Blazers are going to need to make the series vs. the Clippers "ugly." What does that mean? "You'll see."— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 14, 2016
Now, this should come as no surprise--nobody likes the Clippers. You know why? Because the Clippers are one of two teams to have won 50+ games in each of the last four seasons. They have the fourth-longest active playoff streak in the NBA. When you're good, you beat people, and when you beat people, they don't like you. They especially don't like you when you have the gritty, physical play of Chris Paul and the athletic, embarrassing posters of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
In fact, if you asked teams around the league what opponent they hate the most, it wouldn't surprise me if the Clippers were the answer more often than not.
What's more interesting is the use of the term "ugly", which can be construed a lot of ways:
Hacking DeAndre Jordan 30 times a game would certainly make for an ugly series. Using tactics to create either an extremely slow, grinding pace or an extremely fast, sloppy pace could make the series ugly.
But playing dirty would also make for an ugly series, and that seems to be the popular interpretation here.
I'll say this for the Blazers--they're a talented team, and they've got the spunk of a club that proved everyone wrong. They're going to come into game 1 expecting to win, and if Clippers go up 3-0 in the series and the Blazers are down 20 going into the fourth quarter of game 4, they'll take the court expecting to win. I fully expect the Blazers to be tough, physical, and relentless. I expect them to be fierce competitors, and I expect for there to be several tense moments during the series. The intensity is part of what makes the playoffs special.
But if we come out and the Blazers begin resorting to bush-league tactics (think Mark Jackson-era Warriors), then I'll be fully disappointed. Heading into this series, the Blazers are a foe to be respected. If "ugly" is applied to this series in the way Ed Davis seems to suggest, then it'll be a lot harder to respect Portland when this pairing ends.