The Spurs were outclassed tonight by one of the West’s elite playoff teams, as the Silver and Black couldn’t get out of their own way and gave Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers everything they wanted on offense as they hit just about every shot they looked at tonight, at one point hitting 7-8 from beyond the three point arc. Marcus Morris, who had reneged on an oral agreement to join the Spurs last year, continued to give the Spurs a hard time tonight, as did pretty much every starter on the Clips as they scored easily over the Spurs defense. There were some bright spots for the Spurs, as Luka Samanic had a very solid contribution and made a strong case for being in the regular rotation. This was the Spurs third straight loss and the second of the current 9 game home stand.
- There’s games being played, but most of the attention tonight is going to be on potential trades. I really don’t expect the Spurs to be involved in any, but it would be great if the team was able to get anything at all for LaMarcus Aldridge without taking on any long term obligations. At this point, I would be shocked if anything besides a buyout happened.
- Jakob can’t catch a break on foul calls. Any time there’s contact between him and another player on the court, it’s always called a foul on him. You’d think that at least some of the time it would be a no call, or a foul on the other player, but it never happens. [OK, I’m exaggerating, but not much.]
- Marcus Morris is proof that bad people can play good basketball.
- Devin Vassell is a difference maker on both ends of the court, but when he got one on one guarding Leonard, Kawhi used his strength to get to the hoop. Once Vassell gets a little stronger, he’s going to be a very formidable defender.
- Luka Samanic came in early in the second quarter and made an immediate impact. I have no idea why he doesn’t play more, but with Rudy Gay out tonight, Pop had no choice but to play him.
- Trey Lyles played much of the second half, and he was pretty solid. I can understand why he could be unhappy, because he’s always played well when he gets time on the court, but he has long stretches of games where he never gets off the bench.
The Clippers started the scoring with a Kawhi Leonard steal and breakaway layup, and the with LA hitting all their three point shots as they surged to a 19-7 early lead. The Clips shot an insane percentage from beyond the arc (7-8), and dominated the quarter, but the Spurs made the score a bit more respectable towards the end of the quarter with an 8-0 run and trailed 41-29 after one. It could have been worse.
The Spurs came out in the second quarter with much better energy, and the Clippers’ shooting descended into the mortal range as the Silver and Black chipped away at the lead. The Spurs cut the lead to just 5 halfway through the quarter, but their inability to maintain concentration for the quarter led to defensive lapses and turnovers as the Clips and Nic Batum surged to a 14 point lead at halftime.
The Spurs started the third quarter with more energy, but they couldn’t make headway because they ended up giving up too many easy opportunities to the Clippers with lazy passes that were converted into turnovers and scores, allowing them to stretch their lead to 19 two third of the way through the quarter. The Spurs kept up the activity level, but the Clippers kept hitting their shots and led 102-84 after three.
The Spurs looked worn down in the fourth, and while Patty Mills hit a few threes, he also cost the Spurs some points because he often ended up switched onto Paul George, which isn’t all that fair, with PG easily getting his shot off against the short Aussie. Both teams put in white flag lineups late in the game, with tomorrow night’s rematch looming, and the Spurs lineup with Tre Jones, Devin Vassell and Luka Samanic played pretty well, making the case for more minutes in close games.
It’s been a long year, but the end is in sight, isn’t it?
What’s Next . . .
For the Clippers fans perspective, visit Clips Nation.
The Spurs play the Clippers again tomorrow, same time, same place. If I was at the arena, do you think they’d just let me stay in my seat overnight?