All-star point guard Chris Paul didn't suit up tonight and this one looked to be over early, as the Spurs picked apart the Clippers defense with constant motion and pin-point passing, doubling up the Clippers in the first half. The Spurs were dropping dimes like they had holes in their pockets. (bah-dum, psst)
The first quarter was key in establishing a relentless attack that the Clippers couldn't answer. Tiago had little regard for Deandre Jordan's
overrated career-best defensive numbers, routinely outworking him in the paint with an array of floaters and reverse-layups, finishing with 22 points on 8 - for - 12 from the floor. He was terrific.
The Spurs also parlayed their superior energy into holding the Clips to a single rebound in the first quarter. Yes, just one. Whatever Pop said after the disappointing Knicks loss on Thursday must have been, um, convincing.
After expanding their lead to 37 points early in the third, the Clippers came alive. More specifically, Jamal Crawford came alive, punctuating his 15 point quarter with a buzzer-beating 3 from near half-court. An extended run whittled the Spurs' lead down to a mere 13 points early in the fourth quarter. To make matters worse, Splitter, in the midst of a season-best performance, collapsed with a shoulder injury after colliding with Ryan Hollins, spraining his shoulder. Things were looking glum at the AT&T Center.
But the Spurs settled down and went on a run of their own behind the Big Three, led by Tim Duncan's 19 points and 11 rebounds. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively, and the Spurs recaptured the momentum and guided the Spurs to a 116-92 victory.