The Spurs jumped on the Clippers early, going up 11-2 just three minutes into the game. After 10 minutes, the Spurs had a 25-13 lead behind 10 points from Kawhi Leonard, who scored a career-high 32 points by the time he was pulled early in the fourth. The newly minted Defensive Player of the Year not only dominated Los Angeles on the offensive side of the ball, he did his thing on the defensive end and finished with three steals and two blocks.
Turning the 26th pick of George Hill into Kawhi Leonard has become an embarrassment of riches for the Spurs. It doesn't seem fair that a team as good as the Spurs found such a phenomenal player in Kawhi just by giving up Hill.
The Clippers shot the ball poorly (34.1% from the floor and 26.1% from deep,) but most of that credit should be given to a Spurs defense that forced the Clips into taking poor shots, both in quality of look and in where they got their looks. It was a great performance for SA in holding the league's most efficient offense to just 73 points. They averaged 106 per game in the regular season.
Except for a stretch from the end of the first to the end of the second, the Spurs found the bottom of the net with regularity and this game wasn't in question during the second half. The Spurs can't expect Los Angeles to shoot and execute as poorly as they did in Game 3, but it's an uphill battle for the Clippers with another game in SA, where the Spurs have been very good, before they get to try again in the Staples Center.
The Spurs led wire to wire and used a 35-point second half from the Clippers to get some rest for their guys on their way to a comfortable 2-1 series lead.
On the second half domination:
I just think it was one of those nights. We had a great night shooting, they had a real difficult night shooting and that's a bad combination. They get a loss.
We're not that good and they're not what you saw tonight, without a doubt. We had a heck of a night.
- Manu Ginobili only took two shots, and hit one, but he did lots of little Manu things for the Spurs. His defense was great and he finished with six boards and six assists in his 16 minutes.
- The box says that Tim had three blocks but I swear it was like eight. He only scored four points, but he did take 17 less shots than he did in his 28-point Game 2 performance.
- Boris Diaw followed up his solid Game 2 performance with another good game. The big Frenchman finished with 15-6-3-1-1.
- Danny Green finished with 11-6-2-1-0. His defense was great and he finished with the game-high plus/minus of +33.
GIF of the Night:
Kawhi moves: A right-left crossover, two left hand dribbles and the patience to wait for the jump-happy DeAndre Jordan to get enough space to finish with his left hand. That's truly amazing.
Earnest Kawhi: "I don't know, what do you think?"
It will be a quick turnaround for the two teams as they play game four on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 STTOTTM. You can see that game on ABC.