The San Antonio Spurs could wrap up their Western Conference semi-final series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday at the Staples Center, as they bounced back from a double-figure deficit at the conclusion of the first quarter on Saturday to beat the Clippers by a final margin of 96-86. The home team came out on fire offensively in the opening period while San Antonio looked as if they needed a map to find the basket. The Spurs however, outscored Los Angeles by 30 points in the middle two quarters and took the lead heading into the fourth. The Clippers could not regroup and the Spurs are now one victory away from a series sweep and a trip to the Western Conference Finals.
Tony Parker and Tim Duncan both notched double-doubles in the win for the Spurs as Parker had 23 points while Duncan put up 19 points for the afternoon. Los Angeles All-Star forward Blake Griffin had a monster performance as he racked up a double-double knocking down 28 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while Mo Williams came off the bench with 19 points and Chris Paul chipped in 12 in the game.
The Clippers looked like a team that was ready to kick butt and take names during the first 12 minutes of action as they shot the lights out and took advantage of their visitors offense being stuck in neutral. Williams knocked down an outside jumper with three seconds to play and Los Angeles held an imposing 33-11 advantage at the end of the quarter.
Many NBA observers bring up the age of San Antonio’s core group as a detriment; however that point of view neglects the experience and wisdom it gives the squad. The Spurs had been through similar situations too many times to panic and instead they slowly and methodically began the process of digging themselves out of the hole they were in. They were able to shave ten points off their deficit in the second and the home team’s edge was down to 53-43 as the teams reached the half.
Los Angeles returned to the floor in the third, however they seemed to have left their offense in the locker room, as it was nowhere to be found on the court. The Clippers could only muster eight points in 12 minutes of playing time and San Antonio would be on top 69-61 at the conclusion of the quarter. The home team never recovered and they face a win or go home situation on Sunday as they trail the Spurs 3-0 in their best of seven match-up.