The Spurs faced the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday night in San Antonio. The Clippers were without Chris Paul and J.J. Redick and the Spurs took advantage. San Antonio jumped on the Clippers early and Los Angeles was unable to recover. It was a very good showing for the Spurs, and I wish Chris Paul had been present because no one can beat the Spurs when they play the way they did tonight and I'm tired of all the "signature win" talk.
As you can see from the game flow, the Spurs blew it open early and the Clippers were never able to recover. Even though the Spurs definitely allowed things to get interesting at the beginning of the fourth quarter, they recovered and cruised to victory over the Clippers.
Tiago Splitter injures shoulder against Clippers
Splitter injured his shoulder in the third quarter of last night's game.
The Spurs starters looked great in the first and finally played as a starting unit should. Before Manu checked into the game, the starters had built a seven-point lead and had very much outplayed the undermanned Clippers starters. The Clips were without Chris Paul, but it's still great to see the Spurs' starters execute and out-perform their opponents.
I think Darren Collison is a worthy backup and this Clippers team is still one to be feared. Basically, I do not want to hear how this win meant nothing since Paul was out. OKC has Reggie Jackson replacing Westbrook and LA has Collison replacing Paul. I think the two backups are comparable and everyone thinks OKC is just fine. Keep in mind that Jackson has had two of his best games in his career against the Spurs. He's not as good as you think. He's had two +20 point games this year and both were against San Antonio.
In the third quarter the Spurs relaxed, which is understandable. They doubled the Clippers at the half, 70-35, and were undoubtedly playing not to lose. Their prevent defense infected their offense and before they knew it, Jamal Crawford caught fire and the lead was down to 13 with nine minutes remaining in the fourth.
At this point, Tiago Splitter went down with a shoulder injury. As he writhed in pain on the floor, Pop subbed in Tim Duncan. Duncan responded to the turbulence as you would expect. He converted an and-one and followed it with an 18-footer to right the ship. The Spurs cruised from there to record their 26th victory of the season.
- Compare the Spurs' shots to the Clippers' shots in the first quarter. How pretty is this shot chart for the good guys? In the first quarter, the Spurs only took six shots from outside the paint while the Clippers shot 11. This is the result of great offensive execution and fantastic defense by the Silver and Black. They will beat anyone while playing this brand of basketball. This shot chart is total domination.
- Conversely, this is the third quarter when the Clippers mounted their comeback. The Spurs relaxed and settled for ten outside jumpers. Meanwhile, the Clips began converting many of their poor shots, thanks to Jamal Crawford catching fire. This is what a bad quarter looks like for San Antonio.
- Jamal Crawford was the only Clipper who seemed scary. Blake did what he does: out-athletic most near the rim but fail to play fundamentally effective basketball. Jared Dudley just isn't athletic enough to be a difference-maker in the NBA and DeAndre Jordan still doesn't know how to play basketball. He can jump high and run fast, but still can't make a free throw or perform a post move. I hope we see this team in the playoffs. The Spurs will destroy them in a series.
- Before Tiago Splitter left with an injured shoulder, he was playing great. He had 22 points in 25 minutes to go along with five rebounds. He was finding openings in the Clippers defense with ease and was rewarded every time. I hope he's not out too long; the Spurs need Tiago in order to be a great team.
- Kawhi Leonard finally had a good game -- I bet he read my last recap. Instead of forcing the action, he let the offense come to him. He finished with 10 points making five of his eight shots. I think the Spurs will win most games if Kawhi shoots a high percentage, even if it's for a modest amount of points. He is gravy.
- Manu Ginobili contributed another strong performance as he scored 15 points while converting six of his 11 shots. He also had six assists, two rebounds and two steals on the night. He's been so great this year. Long live Manu!
- Tony Parker followed up his miserable performance against the Knicks with a fabulous one tonight. He finished with 17 points making seven of his eight shots. He also had nine assists and two rebounds. This is about as well as he has played in a while. His +/- of +23 was second only to Tim's of +25 for the game. We need this version of Tony to show up every night.