(CTN News) – Last time the Clippers faced the San Antonio Spurs, they had lost nine out of 11 games. Is this the case?
After winning six days earlier, the Clippers extended their winning streak to four games with a 138-100 victory over the Spurs.
Yes, things feel different. Coach Tyronn Lue said, “We still have a lot of work to do, but it does feel different.” The team is improving in certain areas, especially offensively. We are making progress in that regard.”
The Clippers’ offensive efforts were led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Leonard scored 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting and seven assists, while George had 35 points on 14-of-19 shooting and five 3-pointers.
Despite their double-teaming, Lue said they took advantage of their double teams, got their spacing right, moved the ball, and took care of the ball, which has been one of their struggles this year.
When you play through your two big guys like that, only having five turnovers is a huge deal. The trend is upward, but we’ve still got a long way to go, so we need to keep working to get to where we want to be.”
The season has certainly turned around for a team that had lofty expectations before injuries and absences hindered their consistency and ability to win.
“In the last 10 games, we’ve ranked third in offense,” Lue said. With Kawhi and PG out at the beginning of the season, it was a challenge. We’re kind of figuring it out offensively now.”
In San Antonio, the Clippers made slightly more defensive stops (14-35) than when they met the Spurs last (131-126 shootout).
The Clippers’ center Ivica Zubac watched video of their previous game against the Spurs, and he found the combined 257 points two weeks ago somewhat embarrassing.
“We talk about it,” he said. We just have to make defensive stops on the court. “Be better.”
Clippers opponents shoot 53.3% from the field and give up 110.6 points per game. They held the Spurs to 45.1% shooting without standout forward Jeremy Sochan (quadriceps).
Keita Bates-Diop, who replaced Sochan in the lineup, finished with 13 points to lead the Spurs. Nine of San Antonio’s last 10 games and 12 of its last 14 have been losses.
“I think we did well defensively by just understanding the game plan, sticking to our principles, not taking back cuts, and not taking middle drives,” Lue said. Our performance was decent, I think.
I think overall we did a good job of sticking to our game plan against this tough team.”
The Clippers avoided a shootout. Leonard and George both made four of seven shots on their first seven attempts. At halftime, Leonard and George each scored 18 points for the Clippers.
A near-healthy roster allowed them to lead by 34 in the second half. 18 3-pointers were made by 12 players in the victory.
Zubac had five rebounds and 11 points, while Powell had 15 points.
In addition to 12 points and three assists, Robert Covington added 10 points and six rebounds.
Luke Kennard returned to the roster after missing nine games with a calf injury. During his first game back, Kennard scored five points.
Wall (abdominal injury) and Morris Sr. (rib contusion) remain out.
The Clippers’ season wasn’t a success. 16 second-chance points and 52 paint points. In spite of that, Lue was pleased.
“Our two guys (Leonard and George) are playing, they’re healthy.”