Huge third quarter lifts Spurs past Clippers for 3-0 series lead
Los Angeles, CA, United States (AHN Sports) – The San Antonio Spurs erased a 22-point deficit with a huge third quarter to beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 96-86 Saturday and take a commanding 3-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Tim Duncan scored 11 of his 19 points in the third quarter, when the Spurs outscored the Clippers 26-8, to grab a 69-61 edge going into the final period.
The Spurs go for a sweep in Los Angeles Sunday. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.
It was the 17th straight win for the Spurs, who are perfect in the playoffs after seven games. The Spurs earlier swept the Utah Jazz in the first round.
Playmaker Tony Parker paced the Spurs with 23 points and 10 assists while Kahwi Leonard and Manu Ginobili had 14 and 13 points, respectively. Duncan also grabbed 13 rebounds in 38 minutes.
Blake Griffin scored 28 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Clippers, missing just three shots in the first half. Mo Williams came off the bench with 19 points while Chris Paul had 12 points and 13 assists.
The Clippers waxed hot early, scoring 33 points while limiting the Spurs to 11 in the opening period with Griffin scoring 14 points and Paul handing out seven assists.
But Duncan brought the Spurs back on track, leading the 24-0 attack with nine points to give San Antonio the lead and take the fight out of the young Clippers.
San Antonio took an 11-point lead early in the final period before Clippers closed the gap to seven on consecutive baskets by Williams.
The Spurs countered with a 13-9 run, sparked by Gary Neal’s 3-pointer and capped by Parker’s 3-pointer to extend their lead to 89-78.
San Antonio’s outstanding defense also limited Paul to just four points in the final period.