THE Los Angeles Clippers bench proved strong enough to vanquish a cold-shooting, sloppy San Antonio Spurs squad even with Chris Paul joining Blake Griffin on the injury list late in their 106-101 win at the Staples Center on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
The Clippers waxed hot from beyond the arc early, knocking down five triples in the first quarter but only had a 5-point lead after the period. Then Paul got the offense humming in leading by as much as 14 in the second quarter and taking a 12-point advantage at the half, 57-45.
The Spurs kept chipping at the lead in the third, with Pau Gasol dropping nine points in the period, to trail by eight entering the fourth frame. But when San Antonio got within five early on, Mo Speights and Jamal Crawford stepped up for the absence of Paul, who headed to the locker room due to a strained hamstring, and quickly countered to bring the lead back up to double digits, 105-91, with only 43 ticks left.
Back-to-back Clippers turnovers, though, got the Spurs within six with 17 seconds to play. But the Spurs cold shooting doomed their comeback, and the Clippers came away with the win after Raymond Felton sealed the deal with his free throws.
The Clippers bench outscored their Spurs counterparts, 58-33. San Antonio struggled from the field with 37-of-92 (40.2 percent) shooting, 31.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Paul had 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals in 23 minutes to lead the Clippers to their second win in a row and improve to 21-8. Speights led the bench with 14 markers, and Felton added 13. Crawford, Redick and DeAndre Jordan each scored 11 to help snap the Spurs five-game win streak.
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 27 points. Gasol chipped in 19, and LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green each had 10.