After a grueling seven game road trip, the Los Angels Clippers found their way to a 115-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night at Staples Center.
The victory margin was the largest against the Spurs in Clippers franchise history.
After an early seesaw battle, the Clippers found themselves trailing the Spurs at the end of the first quarter 28-21.
Mental toughness was key and a note that Doc Rivers preaches daily to his team, and it certainly came into play in the second quarter. The Clippers opened up a 19-0 run that was capped off by Willie Green's huge three pointer. Just moments before the half, Blake Griffin went on a 8-0 run of his own that pushed the lead over the Spurs at halftime 55-49.
The Spurs went on an 8-0 run and trimmed the Clippers lead to one early in the third quarter. However the Clippers led by Jamal Crawford, Chris Paul, and Griffin accelerated past the Spurs for a 78-70 lead heading into the fourth. All three scorers combined for 21 points.
DeAndre Jordan was spectacular on the boards with 11 rebounds and Griffin contributed with nine rebounds. The duo protected the glass which was essential in the Clipper victory.
"The best part about this game was we knew what we had to do," Griffin said. "We executed our game plan. Even when they made runs, nobody got down. That positive attitude is big."
With about five minutes left in the third quarter, Spurs guard Tony Parker hobbled off the court with a right shin contusion and did not return. Parker finished with 8 points and 6 assist.
The Spurs continued to fight and made a run late in the fourth quarter with production from Danny Green and Patty Mills.
With only an 86-82 lead, the Clippers turned up the tempo and finished strong on a 20 point run for the victory. Crawford sent a statement to the Spurs when he drained a three pointer just before the final buzzer.
Tim Duncan finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
"We turned the ball over way too much and went through bad stretches. We just can't put games together like that and expect to win," Duncan said. "But it's early in the season, and we're going to learn from every one of these losses and continue to grow as a team."
Blake Griffin finished with 27 points, Chris Paul finished with 23 points, 7 assist and 8 rebounds on the night.
"It's my job to keep feeding Blake," Paul said. "I love it when he demands the ball. We're going to keep playing through him every night."
Rivers spoke very highly of his team on Monday night, "very proud of them. I think they wanted to win very bad."
Jared Dudley was magnificent and finished with 14 points, and connected on four three pointers.
The Clippers will take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night at Staples Center.