Spurs win 16th straight, lead Clippers 2-0Posted by Inside Hoops
On his 30th birthday, Tony Parker first kept the San Antonio Spurs on pace for what might be another lopsided playoff sweep. Then the All-Star who’s always quick to needle Tim Duncan about his age finally acknowledged his own.
”I’m old. Used,” said Parker, laughing.
Chris Paul, meanwhile, isn’t acknowledging anything: Not his aching body that everyone but him is talking about, or the Los Angeles Clippers’ season careening toward the end this weekend unless things change fast.
Parker scored 22 points, Duncan had 18 and the Spurs beat the fading Clippers 105-88 on Thursday night, taking a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinals and winning their 16th in a row with yet another playoff blowout.
For the 13th time in a winning streak that seldom run this long in the NBA playoffs, the Spurs won by double digits. Only two other teams have sustained a longer winning streak in the playoffs: the 2004 Spurs (17) and the 2001 Lakers (19).
”I think for us, is to not look at that,” Parker said about the streak. ”Concentrate on the task. We know Game 3 is going to be very, very hard. I think we should focus on that and not focus on the winning streak, or what we’re doing good.”
Paul responded to his awful Game 1 with only a slightly better encore, scoring 10 points as the Clippers now head home desperate to steer out of what’s starting to get the feel of a sweep.
Game 3 is Saturday in Los Angeles, and Game 4 is Sunday.
– Reported by Paul J. Weber of the Associated Press
Diaw, who went from late-March import to starting center in a French flash, scored 16 points and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor. Parker’s countryman, one month his senior, also added some surprisingly rugged defense on Blake Griffin, who again had to work for his 20 points, which came on 16 shots.
“He’s fit in pretty seamlessly,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Diaw.
While the Spurs’ over-30 club was running amok — and getting four timely 3-pointers from 24-year-old guard Danny Green — Paul again looked like an AARP member shuffling to the earlybird dinner.
The 27-year-old All-Star muddled through a second-straight disaster, balancing his 10 points and five assists with a career-worst eight turnovers. In two games to start the series, the Clippers’ All-Star point guard is 7 of 21 from the field with 16 points and 14 turnovers.
Blame a strained hip flexor and bum groin, which have clearly limited Paul’s effectiveness. But also credit Parker.
– Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News
“They pass the ball so well that you can’t just key in and clog the paint,” forward Blake Griffin said. “They run their offense to a ‘T’ every single time, and that’s what makes them so difficult.”
Chris Paul, still fighting through injuries to his hip flexor and groin, struggled for the second game in a row. After committing five turnovers in the Clippers’ Game 1 loss, Paul turned the ball over a career-high 8 times Thursday.
“It’s just bad decisions,” Paul said. “…I just have to make better passes.”
In the playoffs, Paul’s turned the ball over 38 times – most in the NBA.
The Spurs continued to showcase all of their weapons, with Tony Parker leading five Spurs in double figures with 22 points. Tim Duncan added 18, and Boris Diaw scored 16, making all seven shots he took.
The Spurs hit 53.2 percent from the field and 76.5 percent of their shots in the third quarter, when the Spurs scored 32 points to blow the game open.
– Reported by Dan Woike of the Orange County Register