Notebook: Spurs 116, Clippers 90

Posted Feb 22, 2013 2:02 AM

Dan Arritt, for

THE FACTS: In a matchup of All-Star point guards, Tony Parker of the Spurs was a one-man show. Parker carved up the Clippers in front of their home crowd Thursday night, continuing a recent run that many consider the best of his 12-year career. He scored 31 points in a little under three quarters of work, dished out seven assists and did not turn the ball over in the 116-90 victory at Staples Center, showing L.A. that the Spurs should still be considered the team to beat in the Western Conference.

THE STAT: The Spurs matched their season high shooting percentage of 58.9 while improving to 6-1 on their current season-long nine-game road trip. They're 22-10 on the road overall this season for a league-best .687 winning percentage. The Spurs are guaranteed to have a winning road record for the 16th consecutive season, four seasons longer than the previous NBA record set by the Lakers from 1979-91.

QUOTABLE: "We're not that good and they're not that bad."
-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

TURNING POINT: The Spurs showed they meant business right from the start, making their first six field-goal attempts to surge to a 13-7 lead. The Clippers regrouped to tie the score but Manu Ginobili checked in for the Spurs and scored four straight points to spark a 12-0 run that put L.A. in a double-digit hole it never emerged from.

HOT: Few players look better than Parker these days. He came in averaging 26.6 points, 9.4 assists and shooting 59.4 from the field over the previous 10 games. Parker then went out and severely out-played fellow Western Conference All Star point guard Chris Paul. In the first half alone, Parker had 17 points and five assists while shooting 8-for-12 from the floor. Paul, on the other hand, had two points and three assists in the opening half. It was the 10th time this season Parker has scored at least 30 points. Only one other season has he produced more 30-point games (13 in 2008-09). He finished 12-for-16 from the floor for the game and drew three of the five fouls on Paul.

NOT: The starting backcourt for the Clippers combined to make one basket against the Spurs, hardly a method for success when up against a guard as hot as Parker. Paul shot 1-for-6 and scored four points in 27 minutes, the third time in his last seven games he has made just one field goal. He did mix in three games of 21 points or more, so he's been streakier with his shooting lately than erratic. Chauncey Billups, who combined for 40 points the previous two games while shooting 9-for-14 from 3-point range, missed his only two field-goal attempts and scored six points.

QUOTABLE II: "Bottom line, we just didn't play hard enough."
-- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

GOOD MOVE: The Clippers started strong in their two games prior to the All Star break. They scored 46 points in the opening quarter of a 106-96 victory against the visiting Rockets last week -- the highest-scoring quarter in the NBA this season -- then came back a day later and scored the game's first 15 points in a 125-101 win against the Lakers. The Spurs didn't let the Clippers get any momentum Thursday, blitzing the hosts almost from the opening tip.

BAD MOVE: The Clippers started the game by trying to apply pressure to Parker on the perimeter. He made them pay immediately, scoring or assisting on the first four baskets for the Spurs. L.A. had the ball to start the second half, but was promptly called for a 24-second violation. It all continued downhill from there.

NOTABLE: Spurs starting small forward Kawhi Leonard was held out because of lingering soreness in his left knee, an ailment that sidelined him for 18 games earlier this season. Popovich said the decision to sit Leonard was precautionary and he may play Friday in Golden State. ... Spurs backup swingman Stephen Jackson returned to the lineup after missing the last three games following the miscarriage of his 6 1/2-month old child, the San Antonio Express reported. Jackson finished with five points and matched his season high with three steals. ... The worst shooting game of the season for the Spurs (35.4) came against the Clippers in their last meeting Nov. 19 in San Antonio. ... A fan made a half-court shot during a third-quarter timeout, winning a new Dodge Dart.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Saturday vs. Utah, Tuesday vs. Charlotte, Thursday @ Indiana. For the Spurs, Friday @ Golden State, Sunday @ Phoenix, Wednesday vs. Phoenix.