FINAL | February 21, 2013 | STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA 















LOS ANGELES – The Clippers entered the All-Star break on a four-game winning streak, playing as well as they had in more than a month.

But a week off and the red-hot San Antonio Spurs made quick work of the streak, defeating the Clippers, 116-90, Thursday at Staples Center.

It was the Clippers’ most lopsided loss of the season and dropped them to 5.5 games behind San Antonio (44-12) in the Western Conference standings.

Despite the loss, the Clippers (39-18) still own a 2-1 series lead over the Spurs, including a 22-point win at Staples Center on Nov. 7 and a comeback victory at San Antonio less than two weeks later.

The Spurs won for the 16th time in their last 17 games and Thursday did it with a nearly unrivaled offensive efficiency.  They shot 58.9% from the field, made six of their 17 3-point attempts, assisted on 30 of their 43 field goals and secured a lead as large as 34 points in the second half.

“The Spurs do a great job when you’re not solid moving the basketball on offense and with your coverages defensively, they’re going to pick you apart,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We gambled too much defensively. We didn’t execute. We didn’t guard the 3-ball in the first half the way we should and can. The bottom line is we just didn’t play hard enough.”

Matt Barnes led the Clippers with 18 points, but most of that came with the game already in hand. Blake Griffin scored 17 points with eight rebounds and had 10 in the first quarter when for about six minutes the game had all the makings of a high-level matchup between two of the league’s best.

But after DeAndre Jordan made a 3-footer to tie the game at 15, the Spurs promptly strung together a 10-0 run and never looked back. Tony Parker scored 17 of his team-high 31 points in the first half and went 12-for-16 from the field.

His ability to break down the defense was problematic all night for the Clippers. When San Antonio scored on its first six possessions of the game, Parker had a hand in five of the field goals, assisting on three and scoring on two more.

“[Parker’s] just been playing magnificent all year long,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s led the way for us with the injuries and the minutes that Manu [Ginobili] and Timmy [Duncan] haven’t been able to play.”

Parker’s All-Star teammate, and 2013 All-Star Game MVP, Chris Paul did not fare as well. He scored four points with three assists in 27 minutes. It was only the third time in Paul’s eight-year career that he’s had four points and three assists or fewer in the same game.

“I tried to make plays,” Paul said. “But they brought a second defender at me all night. I could never really get going.”

For the Clippers, Thursday was the antithesis of how they looked prior to the All-Star break, when a defensive edge, newfound health and the reemergence of their high-scoring bench helped them win four straight games, all by 10 points or more. They scored 15 or points off turnovers in each of those games and held three of their four opponents to worse than 45.0% shooting.

On Thursday the turnovers were there to be had against the Spurs, who had 18 miscues. But the Clippers could not capitalize.

“We could never make any runs because we could never slow them down. We turned it over too many times,” Del Negro said. “Parker picked us apart. They spread you out. They dive down the middle and if they don’t hit the dive guy they’ve got threes. We didn’t execute the way we needed to.”

The Clippers committed 20 turnovers, leading to 23 points for the Spurs and shot 42.1% for the game.

“You’ve got to be better,” Griffin said. “You’ve got to be better mentally. They’re the best team in the league for a reason and we didn’t come out and put up the fight that we needed to.”

A seven-day gap between games serving as a factor in the absence of intensity was not a plausible excuse, according to Del Negro. And reserve guard Jamal Crawford was unsure how the game got away from a team that practiced Tuesday and Wednesday and defeated San Antonio earlier in the year.

“We had two good practices,” said Crawford, who scored 15 points with six assists off the bench. “We had a pretty long break. I just don’t know what it was. I mean we have beaten [the Spurs] twice already. They sent us a message tonight. They did a good job of that, but we’ll be alright.”


The Clippers held a moment of silence before the game in honor of Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, who passed away Monday… Chauncey Billups scored six points (6-of-7 from the foul line) but did not make a field goal. It is the first time in eight games this season that Billups has not made at least one basket…  All 13 members of the Spurs scored at least two points… The Clippers had 13 offensive rebounds, including four from Griffin… Willie Green went 2-for-2 from 3-point range in 13:16… The Spurs shot 58.9%, a season-high for a Clippers opponent.


First-year Clippers season ticket holder Hagop Blikian won a new Dodge Dart when connected on a half-court shot during the Dodge Half-Court Shot Competition at the end of the third quarter. Blikian is the first contestant to win the competition this season. However, he is the second person to make the shot in the last 10 months. In April 17, 2012, Chance Lavitch won a new car when he made a half-court shot on his 21st birthday. 


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