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Spurs Look To Rebound, Visit Clippers
Posted Dec 11 2006 11:45AM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
After seeing their winning streak halted in the first of a two-game Los Angeles road trip, the San Antonio Spurs look to rebound Monday against a team it has dominated for the past nine years - the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Spurs (15-6) own a 30-4 record against the Clippers (10-9) since Dec. 10, 1997, including the first meeting of this season - a 111-82 rout Friday at the AT&T Center. However, three of San Antonio's losses to the Clippers in that span have come in their last eight visits to the Staples Center.
San Antonio followed Friday's win with a 106-99 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, ending its four-game winning streak to fall to 8-3 on the road this season.
``I thought the Lakers' pressure was great in the second half and we folded under that pressure - absolutely folded. End of story,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
The Spurs' three raod defeats have all come in their last four contests away from San Antonio. Their defense has been uncharacteristically mediocre in those defeats, yielding an average of 100.0 points.
San Antonio is allowing just 91.8 points per game overall this season, second-fewest in the NBA.
Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 23 points off the bench in Sunday's loss, after scoring a team-high 22 Friday against the Clippers.
The shooting guard has been used as the sixth man in the last four games after missing the previous four with a lower back contusion. He started the first 13 games of the season, but Michael Finley has started in his place since the injury and is averaging 10.0 points in that span.
Ginobili has averaged 14.1 points in 13 career games against the Clippers, including a 40-point performance in a 125-124 overtime win on April 9, 2005, at the Staples Center.
Another player who has success against the Clippers is Tim Duncan, who is averaging 22.0 points and 12.1 rebounds in 32 career games since against them since entering the league in 1997-98.
The Clippers have won three of their last four, after Elton Brand scored 26 points in an 89-82 win at Memphis on Saturday for their first road win in eight tries.
``It feels good to get that monkey off our back,'' Brand said. ``Now, we can hopefully get a string of road victories and go on about our business. It was definitely in the back of our minds.''
Before heading back on the road to face Portland on Friday, the Clippers can build on a 9-2 home mark with another contest at Staples against Utah on Wednesday.
Brand, who leads the team with 18.8 points per game, has keyed the Clippers' offense since being acquired in a trade from Chicago before the 2001-02 season. The power forward has finished as the team's leading scorer in four of his five seasons with the club.
This season he is averaging 20.9 points in victories, but only 16.4 in Clippers losses.
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