After what felt like forever of a break, and after one of the most chaotic trade deadlines that I can remember, some real basketball was in fact played today. The Spurs continue their annual Rodeo Road Trip, while the Clippers attempt to keep their spot in the West standings without their All-Star, Blake Griffin.
The Spurs got off to a quick start, hitting five of their first six and Tim Duncan knocked down his jump shots, which is a good sign, and he even knocked down a corner three like he knew what he was doing! It was a pretty even game through the first. and even though the Clips are without Griffin, there are some things you just can't prevent, like DeAndre Jordan pulling down boards, six in the first quarter alone, and Chris Paul racking up nine first half assists.
Kawhi Leonard looked like he had a looooong break and missed his first eight attempts. He tried to shoot himself out of his slump in the first quarter but couldn't get anything to fall and made things worse by throwing the ball away a couple of times. Aron Baynes continues to be productive and always seems to be in the correct position offensively, He's starting to develop and incorporate some post moves as well.
The Spurs' closed out the first half with the "Hack-a-Jordan" strategy, sending DeAndre to the line over a dozen times. The boos came down from the home crowd, but until the NBA changes their rules, it's a solid strategy to send a 40% free throw shooter to the line as many times as possible.
Luckily we ended the quarter with some excitement, at least for us:
San Antonio began the second half like they really wanted to set the pace but the Clippers made a run and took the lead and the momentum with a strong finish to the quarter with big plays from Jordan, Jamal Crawford and Glen "Big Baby" Davis.
The Spurs were pretty sloppy in the fourth, inefficiently using large chunks of the shot-clock, throwing the ball away, and committing ill-advised fouls.
The Spurs were able to keep themselves in it and returned to the Hack-a-Jordan only five minutes into the fourth quarter. By the way, can we come up with a new name for that? it worked with "Hack-a-Shaq", obviously, but it seems lazy to just substitute another player's name.
Ultimately, the Spurs couldn't capitalize offensively late in the game. Jamal Crawford basically did whatever he wanted on offense for the Clippers (like he always does), and the Spurs just couldn't gain an edge.
Marco Belinelli hit a clutch three to pull San Antonio within one with about 20 seconds left, but Chris Paul turned around and hit a jumper over Parker to push the lead back up to three.
Spurs fall to the Clippers, 119-115. Making the Spurs now 34-20, stubbornly clinging to the 7th seed in the West.
- Tim Duncan with a huge 30 points tonight, passes Alex English for 16th on the All-Time scoring list
- Tony Parker had a double-double tonight, 21 points and 13 assists (season high).
- Kawhi shot 1/11 with just 4 points in 26 minutes (0/6 from three).
- Chris Paul had 22 points (9/16) and dropped 16 dimes.
- Jamal Crawford had 26 points off the bench.