San Antonio vs. Los Angeles, Final Score: Clippers sail past short-handed Spurs 119-97 – Pounding The Rock

A San Antonio Spurs team beset by missing rotation players, including Devin Vassell, was pelted by a slew of 3-pointers by a hungry Los Angeles crew. Though the Spurs made several runs through the last three quarters, the Clippers turned them back each time to secure a runaway victory. The primary difference in the game ended up being the 42 point advantage LA (21-for-39) held over San Antonio (7-for-26) in made threes.

Jakob Poeltl (20 points and 8 rebounds) led an ineffective Spurs attack with only two other double-digit contributors – Keldon Johnson (11 points) and Doug McDermott (13 points).

Paul George (21 points) after nearly outscoring the Spurs himself in the first period, ended up leaving the game early with knee pain. Norman Powell (26 points), Reggie Jackson (20 points), and John Wall (15 assists) provided more than enough support for their superstars’ off-nights.

Observations

  • Can we agree that arenas should not be named after crypto-anything anymore?
  • It looks like the path to future victories will need to look like 20-point nights by Vassell and Johnson supported by a third scorer-by-committee.
  • In the middle of a sea of losses, here’s some encouraging numbers from the Spurs that may portend to future success.
  • Longtime play-by-play royalty Ralph Lawler just published a book with his famous call “BINGO!” encompassing several decades of Clippers’ basketball – he has warm words for Pop along with Tim Duncan among his top memorable league personalities over those many years.
  • Michelle Beadle asked a poignant question related to whether the new Spurs youngsters had heard about and/or responded to Kawhi’s departure several years back – to which Sean Elliott replied “to them, he’s just another player.”
  • It would have been great if Tony Parker and join Boris Diaw had lobbied Nic Batum to come over and join them in SA.
  • Isaiah Roby sometimes looks like a baby deer trying to find its footing in newly fallen snow.
  • Sequence of the Game #1: Keita Bates-Diop snuffed a Leonard fade midway through the opening frame, and then took a Poeltl handoff to will a floater into the net at the other end.
  • Funky Sequence of the Game #2: Late in the first half, and after couching up the ball near the rim, Sochan recovered to swat Reggie Jackson’s reverse attempt in transition, which led to Johnson bodying Ivica Zubac into submission on a lay-up.
  • Floppy Play: San Antonio ran an odd-looking version of this, which netted a bad Doug McDermott miss.
  • Keldon’s Kitchen: Partway through the second period, Big Body backed down the taller Norman Powell and doinked an up-and-under, only to beat Powell to the carom and hop back up for a lay-in.
  • Jeremy’s Journey: Though it resulted in a miss, Sochan did not hesitate on a catch-and-shoot three later in the first half. In the third quarter, he found sure footing on a pull-up. More of this!
  • The teams treated an empty lower bowl to some nice halfcourt offense from the tip. While the Clippers lured the visitors into several touch fouls early on, Poeltl converted consecutive driving 3-point plays sandwiched around a Sochan a pull-up in the paint. Though beneficial to see for Spurs fans, it was weird to see Leonard squander away a series of possessions. A barrage of threes from different sources was not answered by the tentative San Antonio starters. LA’s ninth bomb made it 40-22 after one.
  • A three and a floater by McDermott sliced into the Clippers lead. San Antonio made a concerted effort to attack the rim, but continued to concede open threes. Johnson returned to action and spearheaded a run to bring the Spurs within nine. However, no matter what the visitors did, LA rained down long shot after long shot. Marcus Morris, Sr. laid out Josh Richardson with an errant elbow. An enervated Richardson nabbed two jumpers and an offensive rebound after the encounter. Yet LA remained up 64-48 at the break.
  • Terence Mann started in place of George (knee) to start the third period. Poeltl nailed two Pop-a-shots in a row, and the Spurs leveraged some offensive rebounds to close within 13. Leonard asserted himself with shotmaking and setting up teammates for open looks. A Wall lay-up put LA up 20. For a while, it seemed that, for every two put up by the Spurs, it was answered by a Clipper three. San Antonio went into the final frame down 22.
  • The fourth quarter quickly became “Tiempo Basura,” as Powell netted back-to-back layups and a Jackson three made it 101-75 Clippers. Pop brought on a hockey-inspired line substitution. Malaki Branham swished his first three. San Antonio did make enough of its free throws to ward off the free Chik-Fil-A that awaited the greedy patrons.

For the Clippers fan’s perspective, please visit Clips Nation.

San Antonio concludes its LA SEGABABA with a tilt against Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers tomorrow night at 8:30 PM CDT.

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