“I just found out like four minutes ago they call them ‘lob city’,” said San Antonio Spurs center DeJuan Blair who scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds after the Spurs handed the Los Angeles Clippers their first loss in crushing fashion Wednesday evening as they defeated the Clippers by 25-points, 115-90 in San Antonio.
With the win, the Spurs move to 2-0 on the season. Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro knew the road to success with a “super team” wouldn’t be a walk in the park, “Everyone says it’s going to be easy,” said Del Negro after the game, “but it’s not.”
The Spurs were led by Manu Ginobili once again as he posted 24 points, six assists and one steal with just 10 shots in 27 minutesbut this time, Ginobili had some help as all five starters scored in double figures and James Anderson also chipped in with 12 points off of the bench. Blake Griffin did what he could to keep the Clippers competitive, but his 28 points weren’t enough to keep the Clippers beneath 20 points in the loss.
Ginobili started the game with the first nine points for the Spurs and Blair chipped in as well toward the end of the quarter with 10 points. Griffin had all 10 of the Clippers’ 19 points as the Spurs took a 26-19 lead into the second quarter. The Spurs only had three turnovers in the first quarter as opposed to the eight they posted Monday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Spurs came into the second quarter on a mission with their second unit as Tiago Splitter, T.J. Ford, and James Anderson led the team to a 15-point lead early on. The Clippers made a comeback behind Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups toward the end of the quarter, but Ginobili helped the Spurs keep a four-point lead after he made a three pointer close to the buzzer as the team went into halftime leading 58-54.
The Spurs came out firing with an early 11-3 run to start the third quarter behind Ginobili and Tony Parker. The Spurs’ lead just kept building from 21, 23, then James Anderson hit an and-one jump shot from the corner to send the Spurs into the final quarter with a 25-point lead, 96-71.
“Tony Parker tore us apart in the third quarter,” said Clippers’ Griffin after the game.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Spurs as they kept their lead above 20-points throughout. All five starters were sent to the bench with almost five minutes remaining in the game to get rest for the Houston Rockets on Thursday. In the final minutes, there weren’t even any big men on the floor as Anderson was manning the power forward position and rookie Kawhi Leonard was holding down the center position.
The Spurs will fly a few miles up to Houston, as they’ll play their first road game of the season on Thursday as well as their first back-to-back game as they face the Rockets with new center Samuel Dalembert added to the mix. The Rockets haven’t played since their loss on Monday night to the Orlando Magic.
Analyzing the Win
- As mentioned in our game preview, the Spurs needed a strong outing from their second unit because the Clippers didn’t have much to throw at them in terms of depth. The bench came through as Splitter and Anderson combined for nine points in the second quarter while Ford was active on the perimeter and pushing the pace.
- Six Spurs scored in double figures tonight as Ginobili led with 24 points, Blair had 20 points, Richard Jefferson had another strong outing with 19 points, Parker had 14 points, Anderson had 12 points, and Duncan had 10 points and eight rebounds.
- The starters also got some rest as no starter played more than 27 minutes in the game.
- The Spurs’ shooting picked up on Wednesday as the team shot 56% from the field (45-of-80) and much better on the perimeter with 10-of-19 three pointers. After the game Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich put it best, “Well, the shots went in tonight,” said Popovich, “that’s what happens; some nights they don’t drop.”
- The defense was stellar once again as the team held the Clippers to under 20 points in three quarters and forced 12 turnovers by the Clippers while also only allowing the Clippers to make just 29 of their 74 shots (39%). After the game, Coach Pop commented on the defense, “the defense is something that can be demanded constantly.”
- The run-and-gun offense was back as the Spurs got a win by scoring over 100 points and even blitzing the Clippers with a 38-point third quarter. The largest lead of the game for the Spurs was 27-points.
- For being so small, the Spurs’ frontline dominated the boards with a 43-30 advantage. DeAndre Jordan and Griffin were held to under 10 rebounds each.
- Blair had a surprising game as he connected on 10 of his team-high 15 shots while Parker, Jefferson, Anderson, and Ginobili all shot over 50% from the field. After the game, Blair spoke on his big game, “I try to spark the team as much as possible,” said Blair, “I’m looking good, but I got to stay consistent at it and try my hardest to do that and have fun doing it, like I did back in my days at Pitt.”
- After taking a team high 19 shots in their win on Sunday, Billups only took five shots in the loss. No “lob city” alley-oops were completed against the Spurs and Griffin was the only Clipper with an efficient game.
- Rookie Kawhi Leonard finished with two points, grabbed eight rebounds (tied with Blair for a team-high), while shooting 1-of-3 in 20 minutes of action.
- Rookie Cory Joseph saw minimal floor time as he played just 3:39 minutes in the blow out.