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Tony Parker, Spurs show Clippers what contender looks like

Feb 22, 2013, 3:26 AM EST

Los Angeles Clippers' Paul reacts as San Antonio Spurs Parker gets past him during first quarter of NBA game in Los Angeles Reuters

Last playoffs, in the second round, the Spurs swept the Clippers out 4-0. It was a beat down, but the kind improving teams like the Clippers are supposed to learn and grow from.

Thursday night it didn’t look like the Clippers learned a thing.

San Antonio’s execution exposed Los Angeles’ defense, the Clippers could get nothing going in the half court and Tony Parker completely dominated his matchup with Chris Paul on the way to an easy 116-90 San Antonio win.

The Clippers tried to pressure the ball and Parker shredded them. Before long Clipper big men had no idea how to play the pick-and-roll — hedge out and pressure Parker or lay back and take away the lane — but whatever they did the result was Parker making them look bad.

When the Spurs put pressure on the Clippers, Los Angeles became unglued.

The Spurs have now won 16-of-17 and Parker looked like an MVP candidate with 31 points on 16 shots plus 7 assists. The Spurs were the Spurs with impressive ball movement, fantastic execution and a focus that lets them tear apart any defensive mistake. And the Clippers made plenty.

For Los Angeles, this is the kind of game that raises doubts. Combine it with the beating they took from the Heat before the break and you have to question how far Los Angeles can go in the playoffs, if they really are still a step below the elite. In their last 10 games their defense is giving nearly six more points per 100 possessions than their season average and if they can’t defend they won’t win. Take the Clippers out of their high-flying, half-court transition game and they don’t look special. And come the playoff everything is slowed down.

As for the game, it started out with promise and the score was 17-17 before Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker led a 12-0 Spurs run — they are relentless. It’s not just that Parker drives and kicks to Danny Green, it’s that Green who immediately drives and now with the defense out of place he kicks Ginobili for a clean look at a three.

The Spurs blew the game wide-open in the third quarter when they outscored the Spurs 34-21.

It was the kind of game where Tim Duncan only played 16 minutes.

If you’re the Clippers you just want to flush this game and move on. Chris Paul isn’t going to have nights often where he shoots 1-of-6 and has as many turnovers as assists. But the questions have to linger a little about just how good this team really is? We’ll get the answer to those questions come the playoffs, but if the answer has any reflection of this game in it Vinny Del Negro may want to be concerned.

If you’re the Spurs, just keep doing what you’re doing.

  1. funktron2x - Feb 22, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    We Spurs fans are spoiled as hell.

    • zerole00 - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      You guys are the envy of every small market team fanbase. If the Timberwolves were actually like the Spurs (especially with the lack of divas), I’d actually attend a game.

  2. davidly - Feb 22, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    And without Parker’s 7 assists San Antonio still had 23 of them. The Spurs are leading the league in assists on the road and assist/to ratio. That’s an offense that is clicking.

  3. pistolpete0903 - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:00 AM

    “The Spurs blew the game wide-open in the third quarter when they outscored the Spurs 34-21.”

    I know it is a blog, but C’mon man!!!

    • zerole00 - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      Nah man, the Clippers were playing so badly the Spurs started defending each other to give them a chance.

      Dafuq?

  4. progress2011 - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:24 AM

    If the Spurs can run their offense, move the ball and shoot with the accuracy they did in this game….

    Stern can go ahead and give them their rings now. They will have the potential to coast to a Chip.

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 22, 2013 at 6:58 AM

      oh boy, maybe you should watch the playoff tapes from last year
      and let me know how that worked out.
      Spurs have to prove they can win in the playoffs.
      Pop can’t rest guys in the playoffs.
      I’m not counting them out.

      Clippers can’t play half court, no dunking for Blake and double him
      and what happens, last night happens.

      Parker gets no love for MVP.

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 22, 2013 at 7:01 AM

      I don’t know about that, what happened last year?
      Parker gets no MVP consideration.

      • mpasse - Feb 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        You are absolutely onto something. It’s so wrong, but Parker will never win league MVP, because it’s already pre-determined that it will be Durant, Kobe or LeBron. It’s almost unbelievable that Parker is not getting serious consideration. Much like Nash 10 years ago, he just gets better and better. Perhaps there is some jingoism because he is French, oui? Some jealousy because, hey, when you already get all the hot women, who needs MVP? Or more seriously, the idea that he’s “just one of the big three?” Well, two of the big three have been hurt much of the year and Parker has raised his game spectacularly in every phase. What’s more, he’s a good guy, courteous with the press and fans, and a hard-working unselfish player. It’s a travesty that the guy isn’t right there with LeBron and Durant in the MVP running.

  5. timmy2thej - Feb 22, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    You should really start proof reading your articles before you click post. Half of your articles are posted with errors. Like the Spurs out scoring the Spurs.

    • shanelsweet - Feb 22, 2013 at 7:15 AM

      If it’s not tough to figure out what Kurt meant, then he’d doing a good job. If you require that every report be error free, then go check out the New York Times website for your sports updates. Next, you’ll be making fun of the way the players speak.

  6. kavika6 - Feb 22, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    I agree with Barkley and Reggie Miller, Tony Parker should be MVP. He made Chris Paul look like a school girl tonight. He’s definitely the best point guard in the league. In two of the last three games Parker held Chris Paul to 4 points and Kyrie Irving to 6 points, while scoring 30 himself. Great ball movement keeps his assists lower than some other point guards, but his leadership and clutch play makes him better.

    Go Spurs Go!

  7. dls612 - Feb 22, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    A very very very and I mean very well coached team!

  8. louie2380 - Feb 22, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Spurs have to prove they can win in the playoff’s? What rock did u just crawl out from under…….they have rings already, which means it’s already been proven

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 23, 2013 at 3:11 AM

      They have to prove they can beat the Thunder in the playoffs, tbat they can handle a younger, more athletic team in a series.

  9. spthegr8 - Feb 22, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    As GOOD as the Clippers are. Until they can excute better in their half court offense. They aren’t going to win anything!!! Not hating, Just Saying!!

  10. dannymac17 - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    I am not worried about this. The only thing the Clippers are worried about is a top 3 spot.

    When we shellacked them in the beginning of the season nobody gave us credit

    we can still take the season series

  11. savvybynature - Feb 22, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    So is Parker in the discussion as best PG in the league yet?

    I’m tired of guys he is clearly better than getting mentioned ahead of him. Parker is in his prime and is consistently tearing defenses up. Guys like Westbrook are still young, inconsistent, and aren’t the leader or floor general that a guy like Parker is.

    CP3 and Parker are right there imo, and everyone else is a step below.

    • camnellum12 - Feb 22, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Parker is a Top 3 PG right now, but how can he be better than Chris Paul? CP3 had a terrible game, but that was due to the team defense shutting him down just like they did in the 2012 Playoffs. The Spurs team defense is incredible, they gave Kyrie Irving the worst game of his NBA career, he was 2-15, and TP had a great game last week against Cleveland. Tony is Top 3, but not the best PG in the NBA.

      • pistolpete0903 - Feb 23, 2013 at 1:08 AM

        When we are talking about the BEST PG (or any position for that matter), we gotta look at their offense and defense skills.
        No one is denying Parker and CP3 are elite, but give him Rondo anytime.
        Defense has become the bastard child of NBA, sigh!!

    • pistolpete0903 - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      Throw Rondo in the mix.
      His inconsistent J and sometime erratic turnovers may look bad, but his defense and play making abilities is better.

      • zerole00 - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        I think it’s a toss up between Parker or CP3 for #1 and #2, and Rondo or Irving for #3 and #4.

  12. scalfor3 - Feb 22, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Maybe KG’s ability to consistently hit the pick and pop could help that halfcourt offense…

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      I agree with you 100% that KG would help the Clippers’ halfcourt sets. Garnett doesn’t want to leave Boston, and his no-trade clause makes it impossible to trade him without his consent. I think it’s the chowdah.

  13. jerdogthompson - Feb 22, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Kurt,

    I appreciate most of your blogs but to say the Spurs “own” the Clippers is a bit presumptive as I believe the season series is 2-1 in favor of the Clippers.

    I will give you the rest of the NBA season playoffs included and Phony Parker will not have a better game period. What you should have wrote was the Clippers have owned the Spurs and they come away with a blowout victory not be repeated this season.

    Choose your words more carefully Kurt.

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