SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 30 (Ticker) --
scored six of his 17 third-quarter points during a key 15-6 run as the San Antonio Spurs opened their 25th season with a 109-98 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
San Antonio's Steve Smith turns around the Clippers' Eric Piatkowski.
C. David Clarke/NBAE/Getty Images
NBA.comTV highlights from Clippers-Spurs:
Daniels did all of his scoring in the third period as the Spurs, playing their final season at the Alamodome, turned a four-point halftime advantage into an 80-70 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Clippers never thereatened thereafter.
"I thought as the game progressed we started to play better," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We got off to a slow start. The guys weren't nervous, but they wanted to do well. In a strange way, they some pressure."
In fact, Los Angeles could not get closer than 10 points over the final 12 minutes as its losing streak against San Antonio reached 15 games. The Clippers have not won here since January 1997, a span of nine games.
Los Angeles' last win in the series came on December 4, 1997.
"That team is a championship-caliber team full of veterans," Los Angeles coach Alvin Gentry said. "It's tough for us, you just have to pick your poison, either you get beat inside or out."
led six players in double figures with 19 points and Tim Duncan
contributed 15 while grabbing 13 rebounds for the Spurs, who made 11-of-24 3-pointers and shot 46 percent (37-of-80) from the field.
Daniels and Duncan were on the ends of the run that essentially put away the game.
"Our guys stepped up to the challenge," Duncan said. "You give our guys open shots and we will knock them down. We'll live with that all year long."
After a dunk by Elton Brand
brought the Clippers within five points, Daniels took a feed from Malik Rose
and answered with a dunk. The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes before Smith's pass led to a dunk by Duncan. A layup by Daniels pushed San Antonio's lead to 75-66.
Smith followed with a 3-pointer from the right corner and Duncan made a pair of free throws for an 80-66 lead with 72 seconds to play in the period.
had 11 points and nine rebounds and Terry Porter
collected 10 points while dishing out six assists for the Spurs, who scored 16 points off 18 turnovers.
"We match up with anybody," Duncan said. "We're an outside team, we're a big-time rotating team. We've got great players on the perimeter and on the post."
Brand scored 27 points and Lamar Odom
had 14 and 13 rebounds for the Clippers, who shot 45 percent (35-of-78).
"We had an early lead, but we're a young team," said Brand, who was acquired in a trade with Chicago during the offseason. "No excuses, we need hold a lead like that. This is definitely one of the top two or three teams in the league and we hung in there. We can take positives from this game."
"We couldn't get to the foul line and couldn't get easy baskets," Odom said. "The only thing we can do is keep playing hard and fight, fight, fight. We're not going to be disappointed, it's a long season."