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San Antonio vs Los Angeles, Final Score: Clippers get by the Spurs 109-102

San Antonio’s furious comeback falls short against the Clippers as they almost overcome a terrible shooting night

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs had a bad shooting night, but played their best defense of the year to make tonight’s game interesting as they almost pulled off a terrific comeback. After a terrible offensive start where they just scored three offensive baskets in the first quarter, the Spurs outplayed the Clippers for most of the game, but they had some lapses where they just couldn’t hit a shot and Los Angeles took advantage of those for extended runs.

The Clippers have four players who will be in the Hall of Fame, and Kawhi Leonard looks as healthy as he has in several years. They are in a win or bust mode this year, and they weren’t doling out any mercy to the inexperienced newcomers. Despite the mismatch, the game Silver and Black had one of their better efforts of the year in a losing effort, and showed more promise than we’ve seen in weeks. This could have been a very winnable game if the Spurs would have had at least an average shooting night. It looks like the team is figuring out how to use Victor Wembanyama on offense, and it’s a harbinger of good things to come.

It was another lesson administered by a veteran squad, but somehow not as painful to watch as most of the games this year. And that’s something to be thankful for. Along with lottery balls, which have been very good for the Spurs this year.

Observations

  • When my editor assigned me to cover this game, I had to tell him that I would be busy cooking for tomorrow’s holiday meal. Apparently, I got the assignment anyway. If I miss anything important in the game, I’m gonna blame the turkey.
  • Sean compared scoring in the paint to the main course in a thanksgiving meal, where you want to make sure you got some of that before filling up on sides. I’m not sure if it’s a good metaphor, but it made me hungry. It turned to be a little prophetic as the Clippers dominated the paint to start the game and held the Spurs scoreless for about three and a half minutes. The Spurs fought back to tie the score at 8-8, but an 8-0 run from LA erased the Spurs’ optimism.
  • Bill Land opened up about his health issues during the broadcast, and revealed that he will probably have to miss some games from time to time. But his broadcast team and the fans will always support him.
  • After an abysmal first quarter of shooting, the Spurs trailed 14-26. The awful offensive output somewhat obscured that the Spurs had one of their best defensive quarters of the early season.
  • When Paul George is on, the defense doesn’t matter. Your best hope is to keep him from catching the ball.
  • Devin Vassell was riding the bike whenever he got off the court to stay loose. I kind of wonder why more players don’t do that.
  • Much has been made of Devin Vassell’s absence hurting the Spurs play, but don’t forget about Tre Jones. He has really made the bench group very effective, and a lot of Victor’s best plays have happened with Tre distributing the ball. Having him miss significant time this year
  • Kawhi Leonard was booed every time he touched the ball, which caused Pop to get on the PA to scold the crowd for booing. After that, the boos just got louder. I love Pop, but I gotta go with the fans on this one.
  • The Spurs got themselves back in the game by playing defense, and outscored LA in the second 34-28, outscoring them in a period for the first time this year.
  • Perhaps motivated by the salty crowd, the Spurs started play nasty to start the third, but Kawhi Leonard also heated up and the Clippers maintained a narrow lead for most of the quarter, until LA ripped off a 14-0 run to suddenly lead 82-64, their biggest lead of the game. The Spurs scored the last six to trail 82-70 after three.
  • After another Clippers run to get their lead back to 18 midway through the fourth, the Spurs had one more run in them as Sochan played hard and cut the lead to 7 with just under three minutes left. The Spurs made it a game, but they didn’t quite have enough time to crawl out of they hole they dug for themselves earlier in the quarter and lost 109-102.
  • The Spurs made a furious run to finish the game, and even though it fell a little short, it was one of the more enjoyable games to watch this year. I feel like that it they could have just limited some of the Clippers runs, this would have been a winnable game.

The Spurs have lost 10 games in a row and their record is now 3-12. They travel to San Francisco on Friday for their final game of the In Season Tournament. While the Silver and Black is already eliminated from the knock-out rounds in Las Vegas, it sure would be nice for them to avoid a goose egg in their first tournament by upsetting the Warriors and also end the losing streak. Enjoy your holiday and I’ll see you again on Friday.