20 turnovers, being outrebounded 46-29, and allowing a team to shoot 55% in a game will usually lead to disaster.
That was Wednesday night for the San Antonio Spurs in Los Angeles. A year ago the Spurs swept the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA Playoffs, but after a summer of adding some new faces to their team, the Clippers got at least one victory, in dominating fashion.
The Clippers blew out the Spurs 106-84 behind a dominant performance from their two frontcourt players DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, who combined for 42 points and 21 rebounds. As the Spurs’ defense had been showing signs of improvement through the first four games of the season, it was the Clippers who were the defensive example on Wednesday as they totaled eight blocks, 13 steals, and forced the Spurs to turn the ball over 20 times, and shoot just 41% in the game.
The Spurs’ run-and-gun offense? The most points it could muster in a quarter Wednesday was 25. The “Big Three” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili combined to shoot 7-of-23 for 23 combined points. That usually won’t translate into a win.
Here’s the rundown.
First Quarter: Spurs 16, Clippers 22
The Spurs struggled shooting in the opening quarter, as they only knocked down 7-of-18 shots. It wasn’t like the Clippers were an offensive monster either, as they only shot 42% in the quarter. The other factor for the Spurs was turnovers, as they turned the ball over five times in the first. The Clippers got six points out of Griffin and five points from Willie Green (11 points) in the first quarter.
Second quarter: Spurs 41, Clippers 47
Turnovers were a major problem again in the second quarter as the Spurs turned the ball over five more times, which led to the Clippers building a 10-point lead. The Spurs would go on a run toward the end of the quarter to score 25 points along with the Clippers’ 25 quarter points. The Spurs’ shooting continued to struggle at 45%, while the Clippers were up to 51% by half. Danny Green (12 points) was again the spark coming back into the game for the Spurs as he had nine points to lead the Spurs at half, while Griffin and Jordan each had 10 points by halftime.
Third quarter: Spurs 62, Clippers 82
Behind Jordan, the Spurs were just blitzed in the third quarter 35-21. The Spurs committed five more turnovers while the Clippers were shooting 59%, mainly off dunks and layups, while the Spurs still struggled shooting just 43% after three quarters. Jordan went to the bench with 18 points, seven rebounds, two steals, and three blocks. Eric Bledsoe (15 points) was also huge in that quarter as he had 13 points after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Spurs 84, Clippers 106
The Spurs chopped the Clippers lead down to 11 points early in the fourth quarter, but then Ginobili “tapped” Chris Paul’s arm and a few technical fouls were handed out. From there, the Clippers busted the game open and aside from a no-look Nando De Colo pass late in the game, the game was essentially over.
The Spurs will have Thursday off before preparing to face the Sacramento Kings on Friday, followed by the Portland Trailblazers on Saturday. With the loss, the Spurs are now 4-1 in the early regular season.