Chris Paul almost single-handedly kept the Los Angeles Clippers in the game for the first three quarters, but in a familiar script, the Spurs used their superior depth to wear down the Clippers as Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge carried the scoring load for the Spurs and Danny Green seemed to be breaking out of his shooting slump. Manu Ginobili had one of his best outings since he returned from his unfortunate testicular injury, just in time for a closing season run. Despite stretches of sloppy play early in the game, the Spurs looked like a team that was rounding into form for a long playoff run.
The Clippers started their offense with the Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan show, as those guys scored the first 12 points for the Clips. It was beginning to look like no one else would score a point for the Clips, until J.J. Redick scored a three-pointer with three and a half minutes left in the quarter. Meanwhile, the Spurs kept pace despite cold shooting with good defense from Kawhi Leonard, timely scoring from Lamarcus Aldridge, and Tim Duncan's rebounding prowess. Manu Ginobili (Iron Man) came in the game about halfway through the quarter and hit a jumper to tie the game. Kevin Martin came in with two and a half minutes left in the quarter and almost instantly drew a foul on Austin Rivers. Chris Paul used his craftiness to draw a foul on Patty Mills and scored back-to-back baskets to put the Clippers up 19-18. Jamal Crawford and Manu traded free throws and Los Angeles ended the quarter up 21-19.
Manu Ginobili said he didn't second guess decision to take two charges vs OKC due to protective cup. "I am Iron Man" down there, he says.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) March 15, 2016
Martin scored for the good guys on a fast break run out and Mills got himself untracked with a mid-range shot, and on the Spurs' next possession, Kevin Martin missed a three pointer--but the Spurs got an offensive rebound swung the ball to Danny Green for an open three which he sank, much to the relief of Spurs and Tarheel fans everywhere. After Austin Rivers stepped out of bounds to give the ball back to the Spurs, Patty Mills hit a three and the Spurs were suddenly up by seven, 29-22. Kyle blocked a Pablo Prigione shot on the other end, and Tim scored on a layup to put the Spurs up by 9. Chris Paul scored for the Clips, but Kawhi answered for the Silver and Black on a slick move past Wesley Johnson's attempted block. Jeff Green answered for the Clips but Kawhi had an answer of his own as he hit a shot in Green's face. Chris Paul did his part to keep his team in the game, using a series of fakes and tricky passes to get himself or his teammates open shots, and the Clippers kept pace with the Spurs. And some guy named Timmy scored a few points.
Tim Duncan just moved into 14th on the all-time scoring list. Duncan passes John Havlicek and now has 26,397 career points.— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) March 16, 2016
The Spurs took advantage of scores from Kawhi and LaMarcus Aldridge and were able to get their first double digit lead at 42-31, and eventually extending the lead to an even dozen points. Unfortunately for the good guys, Chris Paul was able to get open shots and Austin Rivers hit a buzzer beater at the end of the half to bring the Clippers within 4 points at 48-44 at the halftime break.
The second half started with Kawhi on Paul, which led to a quick steal. Luc Mbah a Moute was able to get free, but couldn't hit free throws. Paul was able to use screens to force the Spurs to switch, and was still able to get free to keep the Clips within range, and Jeff Green used a sneaky chicken wing to sucker the referee into an undeserved foul on Danny Green to hit a couple of free throws to bring the Clips within one at 52-53. The Spurs answered with a tip in from Timmy and a three-point shot from Manu, leading to a Doc Rivers timeout halfway through the third. Chris Paul drew a lot of attention which led to some open three-point shots for Jeff Green which he sank to tie the game at 64. DeAndre Jordan's rebounding led to extra shots for the Clips, and they took advantage to keep the game a seesaw affair. Anderson got blocked by Wesley Johnson, but he was able to redeem himself with a buzzer beater to end the third quarter, putting the Spurs up 71-70.
So far, the teams were evenly matched, with the Clippers being carried by Chris Paul's brilliant play, and the Spurs having more of a team effort, although most of the load was being carried by Leonard and Aldridge, with an assist from Ginobili off the bench. David West got into the game and was able to make a difference, getting into the mix under the basket and getting key rebounds and putbacks. The Spurs were able to build a 10 point lead at 8:42 left, but turned the ball over and Chris Paul came back into the game. Instantly, Redick and Jordan were able to get open shots, but the Spurs offense was rolling, as the Spurs Green canned an open three-point shot to stake the Spurs to an 89-77 lead.
Patty Mills showed his mettle both on offense and defense, hitting a pair of baskets and forcing a turnover from Redick. Green hit another three and suddenly the Spurs were up by 18 at 97-79. Boban Marjanovic entered the game with four minutes left, and the teams traded baskets with reserves from both teams on the floor, with Anderson hitting some nice baskets in garbage time to extend the lead for the Silver and Black. Boban scored the last two points for the Spurs with a pair of free throws and the Spurs won 108-87.
- Kyle Anderson had another good game on the defensive end in the first half, neutralizing Jamal Crawford with his length.
- Chris Paul is simply a great player. He almost single-handedly kept the Clippers in the game for the first half, finding open shots for his teammates, and hitting his own shots whenever the Clips needed a bucket.
- David West would not be denied in the fourth quarter, using his energy to get offensive rebounds over younger and more athletic players and score for the Spurs.
I usually don't subject you guys to my obscure music tastes, but I spent the last week in California, and this captures how I feel. And hey, I was there when this was recorded.
The Spurs record is now 57-10 and their next game is Thursday against the Portland Trail Blazers in the AT&T Center at 7:30 PM. Also, if you're in San Antonio, you might want to go to the PTR meetup tomorrow night. With any luck, I'll be there, too!