San Antonio (1-2) suffered its first blowout defeat of the young campaign at the hands of a withering Los Angeles (2-1) two-way attack that ran out to a 20-point lead in the first half. The Clippers used better offensive execution with stifling pressure on the perimeter (15 Spurs first-half miscues and 23 overall) to ease into 30+ points off turnovers stake itself to the home win.
Devin Vassell (14 points), Victor Wembanyama (11 points and 5 rebounds), and Cedi Osman off the bench (12 points) paced three players in double digits on the losing San Antonio side.
Clippers superstars Paul George (19 points, 5 steals, and 5 rebounds) and Kawhi Leonard (21 points and 4 assists) spearheaded an effective and balanced attack that nabbed 15 steals.
Los Angeles forced a bevy of turnovers in the opening frame to claim an early advantage. A cold shooting Spurs team didn’t hit the 20-point mark until midway through the second quarter, while the hosts garnered most of its success inside the three-point line. In an attempt to rest its main contributors, the Clippers stunned the visitors with a 21-9 run in the third to clinch the result. With the game never in doubt for LA, San Antonio’s bench outscored the starters in its second half effort.
- A great breakdown of an MVP-like move that Wembanyama did late Friday evening.
- A surprising number of former Spurs have coached the Clippers!
- From my experience, the Clippers and Hornets home fans are far and away the quietest in the league.
- George was impressively aggressive in the passing lanes from the get-go - and snagged two Spurs passes to get breakaway dunks.
- Vassell and Johnson did not hustle back to track Clippers players who stole the ball. Effort matters in these tough road games.
- Zach Collins is 0-for-the-season from behind the arc. If he connects on 30% of those, the team’s offensive efficiency would make leaps (or hops).
- Victor-Ease: It’s the little things. Off a catch in the opening moments, he caught his defender leaning ever-so-slightly one way and in the next moment, was already halfway the lane to draw a foul!
- It may take some time for the Wemby/Collins battery at the top of the key to make consistent results, but it drags the opponents’ bigs away from the basket and generates some driving and cutting lanes hopefully.
- Upon his entry, the Clippers announcers noted that Tre Jones “is very good at running the team”. Jones, despite his stature, seems to sniff out open lanes and windows a little better.
- At various points throughout, Pop unfurled a defensive zone with Wemby at the top to make some stops.
- Charles Bassey had some playing time in the second as the sole big and held his own.
- Sequence of the Game: Early in the fourth quarter, Jones led Wembanyama with a 50 foot pass, and the 19-year-old deftly tapped it home.
- Devin’s Deeds: Though anyone would be wary of Leonard’s imposing limbs and prowess, it was nice to see Vassell in transition take it right to Kawhi to will home a nifty lay-in.
- Despite a frenetic opening, it yielded only five total points. A steal and transition dunk by George put LA up a touchdown, while the turnover-prone San Antonio squad squandered numerous possessions. Cedi Osman’s two threes ate into the Clippers momentum, and a hustle play puncutated by a Bassey dunk brought the Spurs within six at the end of the first.
- An open three from Norman Powell put LA back up 14 to start the second quarter, while San Antonio went scoreless for the first four minutes. Three bank shots from the left box from Collins and Wembanyama kept their team in shouting distance. An energized Vassell scored two buckets by attacking the rim. A stepback three by Russell Westbrook put the Spurs down 37-56.
- Los Angeles tore out of the break with a 9-0 run to turn the affair into a laugher. After a steal, Westbrook was called for a foul challenging Wembanyama’s transition attempt, and the ensuing challenge was unsuccessful. In extended garbage time, Branham scored a couple of buckets as confidence-builders, a backpedaling Jeremy Sochan stripped the ball from Hyland cleanly, and Julian Champagnie scored his first points of the season.
For the Clippers fan’s perspective, please visit Clips Nation.
San Antonio heads east to take on Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns for a two game mini-series starting Tuesday night at 9:00 PM CDT.