Notebook: Spurs 104, Clippers 102

Posted Mar 30, 2013 1:04 AM

By Tim Price, for

THE FACTS: Tim Duncan scored 34 points and had 11 rebounds for the Spurs, yet San Antonio didn't pull this one out until Chris Paul missed a jump shot with a second left to give the Spurs a 104-102 victory Friday at AT&T Center.

It's the second-straight game the Spurs (55-17) have pulled out when a last-second shot failed to go down. San Antonio beat Denver by a point on Wednesday when Andre Miller missed a driving short jumper at the buzzer.

Duncan gave the Spurs the lead when he knocked down a jumper with 2.2 seconds to go, and he capped the three-point play with a free throw after a foul by Willie Green of the Clippers (49-24). Some of the Clippers believed Duncan traveled on the play.

The Spurs caught a break when Oklahoma City lost 101-93 to Minnesota, giving the Spurs a 2 ½-game lead for the top seed in the West. But San Antonio lost Manu Ginobili when he left the game after he experienced tightness in his right hamstring. His status has not been announced.

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 18 points, but he went 7-for-20 to do it. Paul had 14 points with 12 assists, and he went 5-for-14 including the miss at the buzzer. The Clippers were looking for their first 50-win season in franchise history. Their "magic number" to win their first division title is at two.

QUOTABLE: "He traveled. I saw the tape."

-- Chris Paul on the game-winning shot by Duncan

THE STAT: While the Spurs were close to perfect at the foul line, L.A. struggled mightily. The Clippers shot 12-for-21 at the free-throw line and were outscored by nine points there because the Spurs missed one free throw all night.

TURNING POINT: The game was tied when Duncan hit a free throw with 31 seconds to go, but Tony Parker was called for a foul away from the ball on the inbounds pass. Paul made a free throw and the Clippers kept the ball, but Griffin shot an air ball as the shot clock wound down and the Spurs got the ball on the violation with seven seconds left. That set up Duncan for his three-point play that gave the Spurs the two-point lead with two seconds remaining.

QUOTABLE II: "A lot of competitiveness in a very physical, playoff-style game. It was a great win against a hell of a team."

--Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

HOT: Duncan was 12-for-19 from the floor and hit all 10 free throws as San Antonio was 21-for-22 at the foul line.

NOT: Griffin and Paul are the Clippers most productive offensive players, yet they shot a combined 12-for-34 tonight.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Parker outscored Paul when the teams played last in L.A., Parker going for 12-for-16 shooting for 31 points in 28 minutes compared to four points for Paul. Tonight, Parker scored 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting with a 3-pointer and eight assists.

ROOKIE WATCH: Undrafted guard Maalik Wayns was signed to a contract through the rest of the season prior to the game by the Clippers. ... Nando De Colo played 11 minutes tonight and scored five points with a 3-pointer and had two assists without a turnover.

NOTABLE: Chauncey Billups missed another game because of a right groin strain. He tried to play Wednesday at New Orleans, but came out after 13 minutes. ... Gary Neal played in his first game since missing his last four with a tight calf muscle and plantar fasciitis. He shot 3-for-10 with a pair of 3-pointers for eight points in 19 1/2 minutes. ... The Clippers were trying to win the regular-season series with San Antonio for the first time since 1996-97, but it ended this year even at 2-2. ... The Spurs have won seven in a row at home and 28 of the last 30 and now get ready to play Miami at the AT&T Center on Sunday. ... Duncan scored 19 in the first half and both teams shot better than 60 percent (Clippers shot 62 and Spurs 60).

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Saturday @ Houston, Monday vs. Indiana, Wednesday vs. Phoenix. For the Spurs, Sunday vs. Miami, Monday @ Memphis, Wednesday vs. Orlando.