The Clippers played a great game as they evened the series at 2-all. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were outstanding for Los Angeles, but the bench play of Austin Rivers was completely unexpected and his 16 points on just eight shots helped lift the Clips over the Spurs. Jamal Crawford was also big for the Clips, scoring 15 on 13 shots, and he made a couple of incredible shots.
Missed free throws (10 total and just 71.4% for the afternoon) hurt the Spurs. Kawhi Leonard started and finished the game well, but he kind of disappeared in the middle of the game. I don't know if he was winded, but his energy was noticeably lower in the middle periods. He finished the game with a nice line -- 26-7-5-0-1, but we didn't see any steals from the guy we've come to expect at least three from.
Both teams took care of the ball, combining for just 18 turnovers, and the Spurs outscored the Clips off of those turnovers 13 to 8. It wasn't enough as LA's shots kept falling (53.6%) and the Spurs really struggled from downtown (6-25). Danny Green in particular really had a tough shooting day (0-6 from deep). It's unlikely that Danny will shoot that poorly again.
Tim Duncan finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks, but he fouled out of the game late and missed some chip shots early in the game. He also missed his first four free throws. He was good overall, what's new, but on a day where the Clips couldn't miss, those easy misses hurt the Spurs. Manu Ginobili again had some great defensive possessions but he carelessly turned the ball over three times, including the time he tried to pass the ball THROUGH Black Griffin.
The good news is that Tony Parker looks good. He played well and his offensive game took an upturn after a poor shooting performance in Game Three. He did only have two assists and the Spurs only tallied 20 for the game on their 37 made buckets.
We'll see if continued heavy minutes for the Clippers will start to wear on them. If their bench is as good as they were on Sunday going forward, it may not matter.
The Spurs will look to regroup on Tuesday in LA. They'll need a better team performance and some shots to fall, a tall order on the road, if the Clippers play as well as they did on Sunday afternoon. We've got us a good series.
We saw lots of little things we can clean up.
The series returns to Los Angeles on Tuesday night for a pivotal Game Five.