Clippers see San Antonio Spurs do what they do best: Win

first_imgJordan went 6 for 17 from the line, even though he shot more confidently than usual.Duncan, playing 44 minutes, hit 10 of his first 11 shots, seemed to sag a bit in the fourth quarter, and then fired in two more buckets in overtime.“He came in and said, sorry about the fourth quarter, guys,” said the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard. “Then he knocked in a few big-time shots.”“They put a lot more pressure on us in the paint,” Jordan said. “I think they played with a lot more force overall than they did in Game 1.”This game was so different from Game 1 that you wondered if they were both using stunt doubles. But that’s what NBA series are like when the teams are competitive. Seven one-game series, not the other way around. That said, the Clippers know they should be up 2-0. All the Clippers, not just Blake Griffin, who was still slapping himself around for his lost dribble in the last minute of regulation, with the Clippers up two.Patty Mills streaked downcourt, got fouled by Chris Paul, and tied up the game. Paul then missed a 20-footer at the end of regulation, and in overtime J.J. Redick missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it.“I was shocked when that didn’t go in,” Redick said. “That was as pure as I could have shot it.”That’s a shooter talking. Redick was 4 for 12 overall, Matt Barnes 1 for 10 and Jamal Crawford 4 for 13. From the 3-point line, those three were 6 for 22. And few of those misses were under duress. Crawford hit a spectacular three from the corner while leaning over the baseline. The rest of his shots were much easier, yet they didn’t go down.Crawford has always been the Clippers’ barometer. With him functioning, they have a similar bench edge that they once had, when they won Game 7 in Memphis three long years ago.In this game, the San Antonio bench outscored the Clippers’ reserves by a fanciful 48-17. Granted, Boris Diaw played 37 minutes as a reserve, but that’s the Spurs. They expand and contract with the temperature.The Clippers’ starters played at least 43 minutes, except for Barnes. The bench players shot 7 for 20. So they will get the same chance to rise or fall in San Antonio on Friday and Sunday.“They are battle-tested,” Crawford said of the Spurs. “They lose Tony Parker, Patty Mills steps in. They lose Manu Ginobili, Danny Green steps in. That is what they do.”But they usually don’t go very far without Parker at his best. Parker is playing hurt, and in this game he showed up for not quite 29 minutes and went 0 for 6.So maybe it takes a circa-2007 effort from Duncan, plus blindfolded shooting by their own shooters, to beat the Clippers in this series. And maybe they can tell themselves that. But Crawford wasn’t buying it.“We were blessed to be in the situation we were in, with all the foul shots and turnovers,” Crawford said.“I don’t know if we had our best game tonight,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I think that was pretty obvious, yet we still had a chance and you could say we should have won. It tells me a lot of things. Mainly that this will be a hell of a series.”Yes. All five of them. You’re either experienced or you’re old. You’re either savvy or you’re irrelevant.That is all determined by the NBA scoreboard, which indicated Wednesday that the San Antonio Spurs used a large vat of wrinkle cream to rub Game 1 out of their system.Their 111-107 overtime victory in Game 2 tied the series 1-1 and was conducted with whatever-it-takes urgency.But it also validated two moves by Gregg Popovich. The Spurs coach held Tim Duncan to fewer than 29 minutes per game during the regular season so he could erupt for 44 minutes like these. He also believes in the efficacy of fouling De Andre Jordan, even though he doesn’t subscribe to it philosophically.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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