Skip to content

Clippers-Spurs Game 3: Surprise! The Spurs are better.

May 19, 2012, 6:33 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan spreads his arms during a stop in play during their NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Texas Reuters

It’s over. Or, it may as well be.

The Spurs could have won Game 3 in the usual, undramatic, calm, cool, collected 15-point cruise victory they have every other game since April 11th, but this is honestly almost worse. The Clippers held a 24-point lead in the second quarter.

They lost, 96-86. The Spurs at one point rattled off a 24-0 run. It was a debacle. It was a meltdown. It was a collapse, a chokejob, a massive failure, and it shows the wide gap between these two teams in terms of class. The Spurs were never rattled being down 24, never looked down. Relaxed, calm, confident. Chipped away at the lead, got it within reasonable distance, then burned past them. And the reason’s pretty simple. They’re better. Much better. They were better before the series, they’ve been better during the series, and it says a lot about both teams.

The Clipppers beat the Grizzlies behind a series of bizarre circumstances. Reggie Evans hit 50 percent from the line in 3 of the 7 games. The Clippers offense was lights out. Memphis’ offense was both hobbled and independently terrible. The Clippers never really had a chance in this series because in a lot of ways, they never should have gotten past Memphis. Give the credit for playing to and above their reasonable ptoential to advance, but this is who they are. A team down 3-0, who gave up a 24-point lead at home in a little over a quarter of play.

There’s talk of the Spurs resting starters in Game 4, to save energy on a back to back for Duncan and the Big 3. But it’s extremely unlikely given Popovich’s respect for his opponent and the fact that you don’t want to risk aggravating the Clippers to the point they start fighting for their lives. The Spurs have them on the edge of oblivion and the Clippers know it. No reason to force feed them hope through anger.

The Clippers can start looking to next year. Chris Paul will watch the Lakers continue to play at least one more game in all likelihood as the team he landed with is exposed for needing contributions at both ends from Reggie Evans and Kenyon Martin. Nick Young will hopefully develop, Mo Williams may be set free to bring in better wing depth, Caron Butler‘s hand will heal, and Blake Griffin must, absolutely must, develop a better offensive set.

How did the Spurs come back? Well, they shot 30 percent for the first 14 minutes and 40 seconds. They shot 53 percent the rest of the time. The Clippers shot 64 percent that first 14:40. They shot 38 percent the rest of the time. The Spurs just defended better and hit shots. Really as simple as that. Kawhi Leonard changed the complexion of the game with corner threes, hustle steals, breakaway points, and working off-ball for easy looks. The rookie continues to impress as a player who does anything asked of him. Tim Duncan adjusted to Blake Griffin’s moves after a hot start, at one point blocking a driving dunk attempt from Griffin. It was a lesson from the master to the young gun, and hopefully Griffin will learn how to play better in the playoffs.

So the Spurs are up 3-0, and the series may as well be over. The only real thing we’ve learned from Game 3 is what we knew before: the Clippers aren’t ready, and the Spurs are in a class all their own.

Latest Posts
  1. Kyrie Irving misses shootaround, questionable for Game 2

    May 22, 2015, 10:25 AM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One Getty Images

    Is his injury more serious than previously thought?

  2. Kyrie Irving: ‘I just don’t have it right now’

    May 22, 2015, 9:10 AM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwu5mtvkywy4odfmzjk4yjfkyjm1m2rhymzizmyzy2m3 AP

    Cavaliers will keep leaning on injured point guard – at least to some degree – anyway

  3. Jerry West took Harrison Barnes under his wing, mentored him like he did Kobe

    May 22, 2015, 8:31 AM EDT

    Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Two Getty Images

    Barnes all but begged for the chance for a couple years.

  4. Stephen Curry, James Harden duel to final buzzer. Again. (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    James Harden, Stephen Curry James Harden, Stephen Curry

    Stephen Curry and James Harden have been putting on a show for a couple games now.

  5. Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy to appear in CNBC documentary

    May 21, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    Image (1) donaghy-thumb-250x140-11779.jpg for post 2008

    Donaghy was sent to prison for betting on NBA games while he was employed as a league official.

  6. Isiah Thomas hasn’t talked to Phil Jackson ‘because of the perception’

    May 21, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    Isiah Thomas Isiah Thomas

    Thomas is now running New York’s WNBA team, but many feel it’s just a matter of time before he’s back in some capacity with the Knicks.

  7. PBT Extra: No DeMarre Carroll leaves Hawks in tough spot

    May 21, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    This is now a team without its two best wing defenders.

  8. PBT Extra: J.R. makes case for hot hand theory, is loved in Cleveland

    May 21, 2015, 4:59 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One Getty Images

    If the NBA gave points for degree of difficulty, how much more valuable would he be?

Featured video

Small ball lineup propelled Warriors to Game 1 win
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Irving (6235)
  2. K. Love (5327)
  3. P. Beverley (4817)
  4. D. Howard (4364)
  5. S. Curry (4177)
  1. K. Durant (3730)
  2. M. Speights (3670)
  3. L. James (3527)
  4. K. Bryant (3525)
  5. R. Rondo (3268)