On Friday evening in Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers gave up 70 points to the Mavericks in the first half, and then they would lose Chris Paul in the third quarter. The Clippers would still comeback that evening to defeat the Mavericks.
In San Antonio on Saturday, the Paul-less Clippers would give up 70 points on consecutive nights in the first half, this time to the San Antonio Spurs, but another injury would occur as Tiago Splitter, who was the Spurs’ leading scorer through four quarters with 22 points, injured his right shoulder midway through the fourth as the Spurs defeated the Clippers 116-92.
In the first quarter, the driving lanes of the paint were open as the Spurs scored in all sorts of ways in the paint to take a 20-point lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Spurs would continue to wreak havoc on the Clippers’ defense as they took a 70-35 lead into the half.
In the third quarter however, the team’s roles would reverse as the Clippers scored when they wanted with 35 points in the quarter, while the Spurs’ offense couldn’t put possessions together with just 18 points in the quarter. The Clippers were able to cut a one-time 37-point Spurs lead in the third to 18 as Jamal Crawford (24 points, 7 assists) nailed a buzzer beater 3-pointer going into the fourth.
In the fourth, Crawford and the Clippers would continue to chip at the Spurs’ lead as they brought it down to 13 points, but then a 5-0 run by Tim Duncan (19 points, 11 rebounds) helped the Spurs get back in a rhythm as they quickly built their lead back up to 20-plus points and coasted to the win within the last five minutes.
Tiago Splitter: Splitter was a problem for the Clippers’ front-court as he was able to score 10 points in the opening quarter, mainly off pick-and-roll action. Blake Griffin was usually the man late in getting back to Splitter. Splitter had 22 points and 5 rebounds but then midway through the fourth, in shot attempt he put his right shoulder into Ryan Hollins and went down to the floor. Splitter would not return to the game. After the game, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said Splitter would be out and an MRI will need to be conducted.
Check out Splitter's shot chart which shows where his points were scored:
Tim Duncan: Like Splitter, Duncan also had a solid performance against the Clippers’ front-line of Griffin and DeAndre Jordan as he went 9-of-18 from the field for 19 points and 11 rebounds. 6 of Duncan’s 9 made field goal attempts came in the paint. As mentioned above, he was instrumental in the fourth his five straight points coming just after the Clippers cut the lead to 13.
Tony Parker: Parker finished the game with 17 points and 9 assists. 10 of his points came in the first quarter as he too feasted on the Clippers’ poor pick-and-roll defense. Parker finished making of 8 of his 9 shots, which were mainly layup attempts. Though Darren Collison finished with 14 points and 6 assists, he only took 9 shot attempts, well below what Paul usually averages.
Manu Ginobili: Ginobili finished with 15 points and 6 assists as he paced the Spurs’ second unit. His most productive quarter was the second where he scored 8 points, mainly by going into the paint for layups.
Jamal Crawford: Crawford scored 15 of his 24 points in third quarter. Crawford shot 6-of-9 in the third with only three of his shots coming from the outside, the rest were around the rim.
Where they stand: With the win, the Spurs improve to 26-8 on the season. They moved to 13-5 at home, they are 9-7 against teams that are .500 or above, and 15-6 against the Western Conference.
Up Next: The Spurs will have two days off before resuming play on Tuesday in Memphis against the Grizzlies. The severity of Splitter’s injury may also be announced on either Sunday or Monday.