Clippers hand Spurs their first defeat

LA outfit in dazzling form with Griffin contributing 22 points

Gulf News

Los Angeles: Four-time NBA champions San Antonio Spurs crashed to their first defeat of the season as the Los Angeles Clippers dazzled with high-flying dunks and tight defence on the way to a crushing 106-84 win on Wednesday.

Unbeaten in their first four games, the Spurs were no match for an energised Clippers team at a sellout Staples Centre where twice All-Star Blake Griffin was a tower of strength, recording a game-high 22 points along with 10 rebounds.

Clippers Centre DeAndre Jordan weighed in with 20 points and 11 rebounds while back-up guard Eric Bledsoe contributed 15 points and Matt Barnes, also off the bench, 12.

Seven Clippers players scored in double figures as the home team snapped a two-game losing streak in scintillating style, out-rebounding the Spurs 46-29 and out-shooting them from the field by 55.4 per cent to 41.1.

Guard Danny Green poured in three three-pointers to lead the Spurs with 12 points but veteran forward Tim Duncan, with 10, was his only other team mate who got into double figures.

San Antonio, who play their next three games on the road, slipped to 4-1 for the season while Los Angeles improved to 3-2.

The Spurs, who had crushed the Indiana Pacers 101-79 on Monday for a franchise-best 4-0 start, raced into an early 7-2 lead but power forward Griffin led the Clippers charge as the home team came roaring back to take control.

A Barnes three-pointer put them ahead 29-18 midway through the second quarter and, despite an unanswered seven-point San Antonio run capped by a Tony Parker floating jump shot, Los Angeles led 47-41 at half-time.

With Jordan thrilling the home crowd with a series of slam dunks and Bledsoe shining with several jinking drives to the basket, the Clippers padded their advantage to 82-62 heading into the final quarter.

There was no way back for San Antonio after that as the Clippers dominated both ends of the court, and Griffin latched on to three ‘alley oop’ dunk shots to rub salt into Spurs’ wounds before leaving the game with 4:47 remaining.