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Old 12-22-2009, 10:56 AM   #1
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Default Spurs knock off Clippers, now stand 15-10

Parker leads Spurs to 103-87 win over Clippers
By Tim Price, for

SAN ANTONIO -- In pro sports, there are difficult matchups. And then there's the sort of things the Clippers face every time they play the Spurs.

For the second time in little more than a week, the Spurs lined up against the Clippers and shot more than 50 percent. They built a big enough lead on Monday that by the time the fourth quarter rolled around Tim Duncan again was told to keep his seat warm on the bench for the rest of the night.

And for the 14th-straight time San Antonio defeated the Clippers. In Tony Parker's best game in almost two weeks, the Spurs won by 16 this time in a 103-87 victory over Los Angeles at AT&T Center.

Parker, who shot 4-for-17 in his last game and had averaged almost five turnovers in the previous four, brought his game back to life with 19 points off 7-for-11 shooting in 27 minutes against the Clippers.

"It was just a good team win tonight," Parker said. "Everybody played well. Roger (Mason) made some big shots for us in the second quarter, and we got a big game from Theo (Ratliff). He played great tonight."

The Spurs shot 57 percent -- 55 percent from 3-point territory -- while beating the Clippers by 25 eight days ago in Los Angeles. The Spurs missed six of their last seven shots Monday and still shot almost 51 percent.

They've won 42 of the last 46 games against the Clippers.

Four starters and three players off the bench hit double figures for San Antonio (15-10 and winners of six of seven). Mason hit his first five shots and finished with 12 points. Ratliff, who hadn't played in three games, got 23 minutes against the Clippers and scored 10 points on 5-for-10 shooting. He also led the team with seven rebounds.

"This is my 15th year, and I've learned that you always stay ready no matter what," Ratliff said. "When I get the opportunity, I always keep myself ready."

If he would have gotten on the court two minutes longer he would have played more than Duncan. Duncan played almost 26 minutes when the Spurs and Clippers played eight days ago, and in almost 25 minutes Monday he scored 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting and had three assists.

That was enough to throw the Clippers out of sync, even if Chris Kaman had his fifth double-double in six games with 23 points and 15 rebounds.

"It comes down to starting out in the low-post game," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "It's not an easy task, but if Duncan's got it going you've got to double team him. It opens space on the floor for the 3-pointers."

It did. San Antonio hit 5-of-10 from 3-point territory even though the Spurs played their first game without Matt Bonner. The eighth-best 3-point shooter in the league this season, Bonner is out with a broken bone in his shooting hand.

The Clippers (12-15) may be just another team with a losing record the Spurs have fattened themselves on -- the Spurs' last six wins have come against teams below the .500 mark. But at least the Clippers have been playing well. Since starting 0-4 in October they are 12-11, and they came to San Antonio after winning three of four and two of their first three on the current six-game road trip.

But the Spurs disposed of the Clippers after the opening 8 minutes of the game. San Antonio had a 18-17 lead at that point, but the Spurs closed out the rest of the quarter by outscoring the Clippers 15-2. The Spurs hit all three of their 3-point attempts, including two from starting off-guard Keith Bogans.

San Antonio led by 14 after shooting almost 63 percent (15-for-25) in the first quarter with Parker going 4-for-5.

The Clippers were trailing by 10 when Eric Gordon hit 3-pointers on consecutive trips down the floor to cut it to 39-35. But with Parker finishing the first half shooting 5-for-7 (not counting a half court miss trying to beat the buzzer), the Spurs took a 11-point lead heading into the locker room.

Even though Los Angeles hit half of its 18 shots in the third quarter, the Clippers failed to make it to the free-throw line while San Antonio was 11-for-15 from the line. And by early in the fourth quarter the Spurs made a 25-point lead their largest margin of the game.

Good to see Tony picking it back up, and alot of our main guys getting limited minutes and rest. Our role players are starting to pick it up too. I like the move of Blair starting at center, but I don't know how well it will fair against the bigger teams in the league.
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