Whenever the Spurs play the Clippers, I tend to expect a pickup game. It's normally in the Clippers' best interest to speed things up and make things sloppy. I get it. That'd be my strategy too if my team were coached by Vinny Del Negro. At least, that used to work. Something has definitely changed since the good old days. We may have to put the brooms away,
I blame Chris Paul. CP3 is now coaching the Clippers. CP3 > Vinny. Chris Paul makes this Clippers team dangerous.
In response to the new-wave Clippers, the Spurs apparently decided to dust off Tim Duncan. Tim has been unbelievable this year. PtR has clearly established that his numbers are up, and that's great, but what I care about is his desire to defend. (If you haven't read these already, Cameron Archer is pretty much the best name ever.)
He is hitting people again. It's been years since Tim has knocked the hell out of someone. It takes a different mindset for Tim to sacrifice himself for the rim, but he's doing it.
This game was close throughout. Neither team was able to separate from the other. The first quarter ended with the Spurs up 30-28. It was a high scoring affair and neither team played much defense. Tony scored 11 while Blake Griffin tried to keep pace with eight points.
In the first quarter, Manu Ginobili left the game. Early reports indicated that he pulled his hamstring. Pulling a hamstring is definitely not a good thing, by the way. For those of you unfamiliar with this injury, here is how it goes. Imagine that you are in a foot race and about to take off. So, you get on all fours and squat down so you can leap into from the starting line. When your hamstring is pulled, as you leap, you feel a burning, tear in your hamstring. It's not a cramp feeling. It's a pinching, on fire sensation that immediately cripples you. It feels like someone punched you in the leg with acid. Yep, that's what Manu is attempting to play through. Poor, Manu. I would guess that he's out until the first round.
The second and third quarter saw more of the same. The Spurs and Clippers went back and forth as lack of health hurt both teams' ability to pull away. Now, let's break down the last 3 minutes of the game, because they were very exciting.
Spurs 97, Clips 94 4th 3:00
It's been a crazy back and forth battle up to this point. The Spurs managed to get the ball with three minutes remaining. Unfortunately, this was a wasted possession. Tim ended up air-balling an elbow shot and the Clippers rebounded.
Spurs 97, Clips 94 4th 2:40
Chris 'Dirty' Paul goes pick and roll with Blake at the top of the key. Blake rolls and Chris passes him the ball at the free throw line at which point he takes off. Luckily, Tim is there and tackles him. Otherwise, In think he may have accidentally dunked it from the free throw line. Yep, an accidental dunk from the free-throw line. He is easily that athletic.
Spurs 97, Clips 96 4th 2:40
The Spurs ran their typical offense and found a wide open look for Tim that missed. I'm not sure if we could have earned a better look.
Spurs 97, Clips 96 4th 2:04
The Clippers ran a Vinny play, and by that I mean there was no play. Jamal Crawford went one-on-one and took a bad shot that missed. Tim rebounded and was fouled.
Spurs 97, Clips 96 4th 1:50
Tim posted up and received the ball. Tiago flashed under the basket and Tim hit him with a perfect pass. Matt Barnes correctly fouled Tiago before he could release the ball. Tiago hit both free throws to push the lead to 3.
Spurs 99, Clips 96 4th 1:40
Chris Paul drove like Chris Paul would and attempted to dish the ball to Deandre Jordan. Jordan was out of bounds and so it is Spurs' ball. Chris Paul flopped here, that's always fun to watch. He just flops to flop sometimes.
Spurs 99, Clips 96 4th 1:31
The Spurs milk the shot clock and finally give the ball to Tim. He makes his move and shoots his jumper short, at which point Bill Land points out that he's missed his last three jumpers. Thanks, Bill. That's great info for me right now.
Spurs 99, Clips 96 4th 1:05
The Clips race down the floor and find Crawford in the corner for three. Ouch. It's a tied ballgame.
Spurs 99, Clips 99 4th :55
Tony dribbles around the three point line and as he is about to take a desperation shot, he finds Tiago under the basket. Tiago's reverse layup attempt is blocked and the Clippers race down the court. Chris Paul shoots a floater over Tim and the Clippers suddenly take the lead. The game's momentum totally shifted and the crowd was stunned.
Spurs 99, Clips 101 4th :35
After many timeouts, the Spurs finally put the ball in play from the sideline. Boris passes it to Tony who drives under the basket and dishes it to Tim at the last second. Tim finishes the play with a layup.
Spurs 101, Clips 101 4th :31
So, many minutes pass during this extravaganza. Tony gets hit across the head and it looked like he may have been concussed. Then, on the inbound, Chris Paul gives the flop performance of a lifetime and one official calls it. Chris Paul felt a tug from Tony Parker and suddenly he was an extra in Saving Private Ryan. It was pretty much disgusting. He flopped and got the call. Popovich could hardly contain himself. And so, Chris Paul, shot and made the free-throw he was incorrectly given.
Spurs 101, Clips 102 4th :31
The Clippers predictably wound the clock down and manged to get a mismatch in the process. Diaw was guarding Chris Paul at the top of the key. As CP3 made his move, Diaw reached in and cleanly stripped him of the ball. Shot clock violation. This was a fantastic possession for the Spurs. They needed a stop and got one. We'll need these kind of stops in the playoffs.
Spurs 101, Clips 102 4th :07
It was a play that made little sense to me. Kawhi inbounded the ball to Danny Green. Green gave it to Tim who was at the high post. Tim took a dribble and his defender jumped into the air. Tim didn't jump into him, he simply shot it and received contact. Tim hit the shot and was fouled. It didn't make sense to me because there was no movement. It wasn't Spurs basketball. But I guess when Tim Duncan is feeling it, you feed him. I stand corrected, Pop.
Spurs 104, Clips 102 4th :02
Obviously, there's still time for one more Chris Paul flop. The officials didn't give it to him this time and the SPURS WIN!