Clip Force Spurs to Game 7
*Photo via USA Today
Game Six: Los Angeles Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs
In game six with their backs against the wall, the Los Angeles Clippers earn the 102-96 win in San Antonio to force game seven.
In a series where neither team seems to be able to gather momentum, game six started much the same. Both sides were trading baskets, for the Clippers J.J Reddick had the hot hand early going four of five for 12 points.
The Spurs came out sloppy, turning the ball over eight times, however solid defense kept it close. The Clippers three-point struggles traveled with them to San Antonio as they went zero for five from deep in the first, and just one for nine in the half.
After one it was all even at 26-26.
The second quarter started with the Spurs making their first real run of the game. The Spurs went on a 17 to nine run which was lead by Marco Belinelli, who hit his first four three-point attempts. As quick as the Spurs gained their largest lead of the night, the Clippers would go on their own 17 to nine run to end the half, knotting the game up at 51-51.
Late in the first half Tim Duncan and Tony Parker would pick up their third personal foul.
The Spurs bench was the highlight in the first half, outscoring the Clippers bench 21 to five.
Despite Chris Paul’s zero for seven shooting start, he dished out eight assists. The first half also showed the “Hack-a-Shaq” not being as effective for the first time this series as DeAndre Jordan went seven for 13 from the line.
The Clippers came out hot to start the second half going on a 15 to seven run, lead by Blake Griffin who scored 10 points. Chris Paul would also finally get on a roll, hitting four of five shots in the third. However, after a big three by Belinelli, his fifth of the game, the Spurs would proceed to go on their own run to knot the game up at 70 apiece. Despite this late run by the Spurs, the Clippers were able to win the third quarter of the game. Heading into the fourth the Clippers led 76-72.
The fourth quarter Chris Paul picked up right where the third quarter ended with him feeling it. The Clippers bench would score their first two baskets before Chris Paul and Blake Griffin would go and score the next 10 Clipper points. Despite the success of the Clippers’ two stars, the Spurs were still breathing down their necks and making the most of the Clippers missed shots.
With a minute and twenty-seconds left and the Clippers up by six, the Spurs grabbed an offensive rebound, allowing Belinelli to sink his sixth three-pointer to make it a one possession game. After a Chris Paul tear drop to extended the lead to five with 21 seconds left, Marco Belinelli hit his seventh three-pointer to make it a two-point Clipper lead with 14.5 seconds to go. An offensive interference call against Boris Diaw would seal the deal on a Clippers win.
Player of the Game: Blake Griffin had it going tonight. Despite a sluggish first half offensively he was huge in the second half on both sides. Griffin had 26 points on 11 for 21 shooting, 12 rebounds, six assists, a steal and four blocks!
Dud of the game: Kawhi Leonard was horrendous tonight for the Spurs. Leonard was a non-factor on both sides of the court tonight. Leonard was three for 12 shooting for just 12 points while committing a team high four turnovers.
Stat of the game: .With all the “Hack-a-Shaq” type of play done by the Spurs tonight the game was won at the free throw line. The Clippers went 22 of 31 from the line as the Spurs went just 12 of 21.
Breakdown: The Clippers were able to go into the half all squared up, despite their two stars having a sluggish first half. This was primarily due to Jordan hitting his free throws and Reddick being aggressive early. The Clippers also were able to keep their turnovers to just 10, while forcing 14 Spur turnovers.
Something to be concerned about for Los Angeles is the injury to Glen Davis, their bench has been an issue, as they did only score 15 points tonight. Whether Davis is able to go Saturday night has yet to be determined, the bench will need to score more than 15 to assure a game seven win. The Clippers three point shooting woes as well continued, going just four for 18. The Clippers will rely heavily on Paul and Griffin in game seven, however someone else will need a big night.
The Spurs just couldn’t land the knockout punch tonight. The heavy first quarter turnovers kept the Clippers close early, as well every time the Spurs would go on a run they'd surrender a run almost directly after. The Spurs may have gave up the chance to win on their home-court to close out the series, but it isn’t a huge cause for concern. The Spurs had a very poor shooting night from their big three, which you have to think won’t happen in a game seven. Defensive Player of the Year and the high scorer for the Spurs this series; Kawhi Leonard will be in full Finals MVP form Saturday as they look to move on.
Bright note for the Spurs, their bench played excellent tonight outscoring the Clippers’s bench 48-15. The Spurs will need Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard to show up Saturday if they want a chance at a third straight Finals appearance.
The Los Angeles Clippers tie the series 3-3 with the San Antonio Spurs.
Game seven is Saturday at 8pm on TNT.