The under-manned Clippers silenced the falling Spurs, 85-98, sweeping their two-game miniseries with San Antonio and giving them a fourth straight loss, the season high.
Reggie Jackson led Los Angeles with a career-high 28 points, closely followed by 24 points and 13 rebounds from Paul George. DeMar DeRozan led Silver and Black with 23 points and four rebounds.
- It took DeMar DeRozan just four points to overtake Hall of Famer Grant Hill for 96th place on the NBA’s all-time scorers list, and he doubled that total in the first quarter alone. The 12th-year pro is also on track to surpass Chris Webber, Kevin McHale, Steve Nash, Earl Monroe, Jason Kidd and Magic Johnson on the all-time scoring list at the end of the season. And while individual accomplishments deserve celebration, the Spurs would probably prefer that they come along with a postseason appearance.
- The NBA’s long-awaited trade deadline passed today, and unlike most seasons, PATFO pulled the trigger on a deal. Those who expected a significant transaction centered on LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan or Rudy Gay were likely disappointed. Regardless, San Antonio made its first midseason contract since 2014, acquiring former lottery pick Marquese Chriss from the Golden State Warriors. And if you were wondering why you didn’t see the big man in action tonight, it’s because he suffered a season-ending leg injury in December.
- Clippers coach Ty Lue unsuccessfully used his coach’s challenge in an attempt to override a blocking call after DeMar DeRozan blatantly used his arm to displace smaller Terance Mann. Even as a full-blast Spurs fan, I have a hard time understanding how the umpires concluded to keep their original whistle. This arbitration blurs the lines of the already confusing rules of initiation of contacts. It’s no wonder why we’ve seen an all-time high in points per game across the league this season, but there’s no denying that offense sells.
- Coach Pop also took advantage of his coach’s challenge to get a much better result. It was a life and death decision that gave San Antonio another chance to stay in the game down the stretch. Although they avoided a couple of free throws from Paul George, the Spurs couldn’t stop the Clippers from knocking down some clutch cubes when it mattered most.
- The Silver and Black entered the evening wearing the sixth worst differential in the third quarter of the NBA (-50) and fell to the fifth worst after being outscored by ten points in the third frame. San Antonio’s offense scored just 13 points after its ball movement stalled in the midfield. More pedestrian returns from halftime could spell trouble for the Spurs should they qualify for the playoffs.
- Although Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris and Lou Williams combined for 61 points in Wednesday night’s loss to San Antonio, the trio had precisely 0 points in the third round between these Western Conference rivals. His absence from the box scoreboard was directly related to his absence from the game, and the Clippers found other contributors who stepped up to fill their scoring gap. Paul George and Reggie Jackson teamed up for 52 points to help Los Angeles improve to 8-0 in the second back-to-back game this season.
- Dejounte Murray was spectacular throughout the contest, filling in the stat sheet and falling tantalizingly short of his third triple-double of the season. The fourth-year point guard has not only maintained his status as an elite ball defender, but has expanded his game as a genuine floor general for the Spurs. Murray dropped a handsome dime on Jakob Poeltl outside of the pick-and-roll, and these plays highlight his continued growth as a facilitator.
- I love San Antonio party jerseys a little more every time I see the Spurs don their retro colors. Nike could have exaggerated pink, teal, and orange and transformed these yarns into a sorbet-reminiscent monstrosity. Instead, they seamlessly combined classic jet black with enough party flair to create one of the top five uniforms in the NBA. I’ve already spent more than I would like to admit on party merchandise and haven’t bought a t-shirt yet.
- Jakob Poeltl missed a couple of bunnies point-blank. And while it was certainly frustrating to see the Austrian center fail literally at the foot of the basket, social media would have you believe that his struggles to finish around the basket are a legitimate problem. Fortunately, that supposed fight is mostly a figment of the casual fan’s imagination. The fifth-year shot blocker ranks in the NBA’s 88th percentile for restricted area efficiency and has converted from that area 2.2 percentage points better than a year ago. Could I be wetter than him? Sure, although the slams shortage is the least of San Antonio’s problems.
- Spurs fans glimpsed the future when Devin Vassell and Luka Samanic entered the game with around three minutes to go in the first quarter. San Antonio’s top draft picks of the past two years showed their two-way potential when Samanic choked Nicolas Batum at one end and Vassell dropped a smooth mid-range jump shot at the other. Only Samanic is of legal drinking age, so development staff should have enough time to maximize their potential.
For the Clippers fan perspective, visit Clips Nation.
The San Antonio spurs He will resume his nine-game home run on Saturday when the renewed Chicago Bulls arrive at the AT&T Center for the first time this season.