It may have been the rest or the storm or some combination of the two, but Williams, who is emerging as a favorite for Sixth Man of the Year, rained seven of the Clippers’ season-high 14 3-pointers, en route to 33 points.
It was his second 30-plus point game as a Clipper and his most points since April 2010, when he scored 35 as a member of the Cavaliers. His seven 3-pointers equaled his career best and set the Clippers’ individual season high.
More: Clippers defeat Spurs, 120-108
Williams was one 3-pointer shy of matching Quentin Richardson’s team record. He knocked down shots from seemingly everywhere on the court, contested or uncontested, missing only twice from outside and shooting 12-of-19 for the game. He ended a 9-0 Spurs flurry with a baseline runner, dribbled into a wing 3-pointer to put the Clippers up four midway through the fourth, and when San Antonio seemed primed for a comeback, the 9-year veteran canned a 3-pointer from the left corner to extend the Clippers’ lead to 109-103.
Williams was far from the only shooter in the Clippers backcourt who had it going. Randy Foye scored 15 points, including a dagger 3-pointer in front of the Spurs bench with 1:12 remaining. Caron Butler, mired in a 1-for-12 slump, made his first four shots. And MVP candidate Chris Paul played wondrously, going 11-for-20 from the field, 3-for-6 from long range, and 9-for-9 from the free throw line. The point guard finished with 36 points, matching his season best, 11 assists, and four steals.
“We shot it really well,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Obliviously, Chris and Mo had it going. They were knocking shots down all over the place. “
Yet it wasn’t just the scoring or individual numbers that stood out as the Clippers won in San Antonio for the first time in 17 tries. They appeared focused from start to finish, played with more fluidity on offense, and operated with more consistent energy than any other four quarters post All-Star break.
Of course, much of that is made easier when a team is making shots, but there were several moments where the Clippers resembled the team that blew past the Thunder in late January. For example, after Paul swiped the ball from San Antonio’s Danny Green on one side of the court, he quickly found Williams near the midcourt line. Williams pushed the ball and rifled a pass to Foye who cut to the basket for a reverse layup; a moment of fast-break perfection.
“It was a ‘space the court game’ which benefits us a little bit at times,” Del Negro said. “We were able to make some shots. It came down to us coming up with stops at the end. Then we kind of controlled the tempo at the end a little bit. It was just a really good game.”
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