Spurs 111 - 107 Clippers OT (1-1)
A difficult game to succinctly sum up, and a great win for the Spurs. A lot of you checked in after the roll call so it seems quite a few of you got to watch it. Quite a game, huh? I’m glad you all made it through! Though they could still shoot better (46% FG, 32% 3PT)–and *hopefully* will at home–the Spurs executed and competed much better than in Gm1. For one, they cut their turnovers from 15 in the first contest to just nine in Gm2. This was partially responsible for a much better margin of difference in fast break points: just 15-13 Clippers as opposed to 23-12. The Clippers cooled off a little from their hot performance to begin the series and the Spurs had a 88-78 lead with 6:41 to play. Then SA failed to score for more than three minutes. Maybe the hack-a-DJ strategy took them out of rhythm or maybe they just missed shots (Timmy had some good looks he’ll tell you should have made), but the Clippers pulled all the way back within one and set up a tense finish. When it comes down to it, in a close game, both teams made multiple mistakes that could’ve cost them the game. Though they came early, the Spurs missed seven freethrows in the game, and turned the ball over twice in the final 3 min of regulation. The Clippers missed 17 freethrows; of those 17, six were by guys not named Jordan (including a JJ technical FT that was either a miracle or more evidence for Rasheed Wallace’s “ball don’t lie” theory as Ron Garretson T’d up Pop when Pop wasn’t even talking to him. Probably a miracle), and six occurred in the final 4 min of regulation. They also had a critical turnover in the final minute. After a couple of cold-blooded Patty Mills FTs, it all ended in a 94-94 tie at the end of 48.
More shenanigans went on in OT. Kawhi missed a mini hook, Redick missed a three in transition with Kawhi baring down on him late, Paul hit a three with Danny draped all over him, Redick traveled across the top of the arc and made a three, but the the Spurs did just enough to prevail. We often talk about “Spurs basketball” as being their style of team play, sharing the ball, going from good to great. To win that game in overtime, on the road, with Manu fouled out around the 3 min mark of the 4Q, Tony out before that with a tight achilles, Tiago on ice for the night even before that, and Timmy with five fouls against a very good Clippers team is emblematic of Spurs basketball too. They can go at least ten deep, they’re experienced, calm. Patty comes in and plays with no fear. They play for each other and they give themselves a chance to win. How many other teams would even have a chance with 2 of their leaders and another important starter out for the last 8+ minutes? It’s fun to wonder. Just really makes you proud of them.
Timmy had a game for the ages in his already storied career. He continued to defy the limits of age with 28 pts (14-23) 11 reb 4 ast 2 stl 1 blk. Kawhi was almost quietly really good. He supported TD’s amazing performance with 23 pts (9-16, 2-3 3PT) 9 reb 3 ast 1 stl 1 blk of his own. It’s funny, after all the options I talked about for dealing with double-teams, they went with the option behind the hidden door or: avoiding them lol. Kawhi caught the ball on the perimeter and didn’t allow doubles to develop. It was effective. Patty Mills was also huge. His play to close out the game was absolutely key. He was money from the FT line when the Spurs really needed it and totaled 18 pts (5-9, 2-5 3PT, 6-6 FT) 3 reb 1 ast 1 stl in 19 min of work. Bobo is still missing some bunnies but he had a much better night with 12 pts (6-14) 9 reb 6 ast 2 stl 1 blk. Danny (3-4 3PT, 2 ast), Beli (3-8, 3 reb) and Manu (2-6, 5-6 FT, 3 ast) had 9 pts apiece. Tiago 2 pts 7 reb 2 ast. Tony 1 pt 5 ast.
Game 3: Friday night in SA at 8:30 central. ESPN and FSSW. Tony will play, Baynes is doubtful with an ankle sprain.