A strong third quarter and a big night from LaMarcus Aldridge was enough to get the San Antonio Spurs a 122-111 win against the Los Angeles Clippers, their first win on the second night of a back-to-back this season. Aldridge led the way with a season-high 38 points, DeMar DeRozan contributed a 25-point, 13-rebound double-double, and all the starters scored in double figures for the relatively comfortable road win.
- The visitors got off to a fast start, showing uncharacteristically good energy for a SEGABABA, but the Clippers reeled the Spurs back in by the end of the first frame despite hot shooting by Aldridge.
- The Clippers came out more aggressive to start the second with a steady diet of drives to the rack being rewarded with free throws to keep the pressure on the Spurs and eventually take the lead midway through the quarter. Aldridge continued to cook with 22 points and the game was tied at the half.
- DeRozan came out firing to start the third and the Spurs followed suit, crashing the boards and taking it to the rack. The Spurs continued to pile it on, outscoring the Clippers 39-19 in the quarter, which would be enough to stave off a late barrage of free throws from the Clippers in the fourth quarter.
- Rudy Gay had another rough night with 10 points on 5-13 shooting (0-3 from three), and it was capped off as he fouled out late in fourth. To add insult to injury, he received one of the pettiest technicals of all time as he gave a little arm wave (a very common gesture from players when they disagree with a call) as he reached the Spurs bench and wasn’t even facing the officials. Pop could only giggle as the refs gave an explanation for the call.
- It was an off night for a Spurs team that usually prides itself on not fouling. They gave away many and-ones, and overall the Clippers shot 30-38 from the charity stripe.
- DeRozan continues to be a low-key thief in the night. For all the hand-wringing over his supposed defensive shortcomings, he had another night with a highlight steal, plus three more and a block for good measure.
- Patty Mills had a decent bounce-back game to combat his recent slump. He was 1 for his last 10 threes but hit a couple of big back-to-back ones in the third quarter to truly open the floodgates.
- The Clippers crowd got weirdly very engaged when Jakob Poeltl missed his first free throw early in the fourth quarter, even though their team was down by over 20 points at the time. The announcers didn’t comment on it, but it was odd to those of us watching on TV.
For the Clippers fans’ perspective, visit Clips Nation.
The Spurs return home to take on the Boston Celtics on New Years Eve. It will be an early tip-off, 6:00 PM CT on KENS/NBATV.