tim duncan

Nothing was going to rattle the calm, cool and collected Spurs. Not even a 24-point deficit.

Tim Duncan scored 19 points, helping engineer a defining 24-0 run in the third quarter, and San Antonio defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 96-86 on Saturday to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their second-round playoff series.

”We didn’t plan on being down that much,” said Duncan, who at 36 is hungry to win the team’s fifth NBA championship and first since 2006-07. ”We stuck with it.”

Led by Tony Parker’s 23 points and his defense on an ailing Chris Paul, the Spurs kept running their plays even as Blake Griffin’s early offensive assault buried them in a huge hole. Griffin missed three shots in the first half, when he scored 20 points and carried his team to a 24-point lead despite a left hip injury and a sprained right knee…

Griffin had 28 points and 16 rebounds, and reserve Mo Williams added 19 points for the Clippers, who face some daunting NBA history heading into Game 4 on Sunday at Staples Center. No team has rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a series…

Rookie Kawhi Leonard added 14 points and Manu Ginobili 13 to help the top-seeded Spurs win their 17th in a row and improve to 7-0 in the playoffs…

San Antonio led by 11 points early in the fourth before the Clippers got within seven on consecutive baskets by Williams. Gary Neal hit a 3-pointer to launch a 13-9 spurt, capped by Parker’s 3-pointer, that extended the Spurs’ lead to 89-78. Paul, so dominant in the final period during the regular season, was limited to four points…

The Spurs were 9 of 22 from 3-point range, with Leonard hitting three…

The Clippers have lost 29 of 33 games against the Spurs dating to Dec. 1, 2003.

– Reported by Beth Harris of the Associated Press