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San Antonio 103 - Clippers 87 - A Feeling of Inevitability

Here's all you need to know about the games between the Clippers and San Antonio this season.  In two meetings, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker have yet to play in the fourth quarter.  Manu Ginobili did play eight and a half minutes in this one after taking the fourth off in LA - presumably Manu was feeling a little rusty and wanted to get in a little extra work.

But let's face it, there's a feeling of inevitability in games between the Clippers and the Spurs.  One gets the impression that any five guys wearing Spurs uniforms could square off against any five guys wearing Clippers uniforms and win handily.  I mean, when was the last time Theo Ratliff made a jump shot?  It doesn't matter, if he's wearing sliver and black and the other team is wearing red, white and blue, that shot is going in.

It hardly seems worthwhile analyzing this game.  It was San Antonio versus the Clippers.  San Antonio won.  What more do you need to know?

In fact, the Clippers were specifically done in by harrowing stretches at the end of the first quarter and the third quarter.  A 21 to 4 run at the end of the first, and a similar 17 to 4 run late in the third was a cumulative plus 30 for the Spurs, and they more or less coasted during the rest of the game.  During those runs, it seemed as if the Clippers simply could not make shots - and the Spurs couldn't miss.


The first quarter disaster started when MDsr gave Chris Kaman his semi-customary early rest and brought in DeAndre Jordan.  DJ had not appeared in a game since the last time the Clippers played the Spurs eight days ago, and had spent most of the time in between on the inactive list.  He was not hurt - presumably MDsr just felt like he wasn't contributing.  He got the early call tonight, and made an immediate impact with an offensive rebound less than a minute after checking in.  Great start!  It was all downhill from there.  He proceeded to travel after his rebound, and each of the next three times he touched the ball something very, very negative resulted for the Clippers.  Here is the Clippers side of the play-by-play for the less than two minute stretch from the point Jordan got that offensive board until he was replaced by Brian Skinner:

  • 02:38 Jordan Rebound (Off:1 Def:0) 
  • 02:38 Jordan Turnover : Traveling (1 TO) 
  • 01:56 Thornton Jump Shot: Missed 
  • 01:31 Jordan Layup Shot: Missed 
  • 01:31 Jordan Foul : Loose Ball (1 PF) 
  • 01:08 Camby Rebound (Off:1 Def:2) 
  • 00:56.8 Jordan Layup Shot: Missed Block: Ginobili (1 BLK)  
  • 00:43.9 Jordan Rebound (Off:1 Def:1) 
  • 00:43.8 Jordan Turnover : Step Out of Bounds Turnover (2 TO) 
  • 00:43.8 Jordan Substitution replaced by Skinner 

115 seconds of basketball.  Only one Clipper other than Jordan took a shot.  Only one Clipper other than Jordan recorded a rebound (mostly because the Spurs were making every shot they took, so there were no rebounds).  115 seconds, 0 for 2 with one of those shots blocked, two turnovers, one foul.  The Clippers were down one when he entered the game - they were down nine when he left, and down 13 by the end of the quarter. 

This is not to blame DeAndre of course.  He was terrible to be certain, and it's fascinating how he could look so good in practice and summer league and pre-season, dominating against guys who are after all still NBA players, yet look so completely lost in actual NBA action.  But the simple fact is, in a Spurs-Clippers game, that run happens.  If it's not DeAndre single-handedly facilitating it, it's somebody else.  But the run happens, as it has for 14 consecutive games overall, and for 8 seasons worth of games in the SBC/AT&T Center.

There are other examples of the exercise in absurdity that is Clippers versus Spurs.  Eric Gordon made zero two point baskets in almost 34 minutes of play.  Marcus Camby, who had been averaging 17 rebounds in the last four games, had 4 rebounds in 24 minutes.  The Spurs took 26 free throws to the Clippers 15, despite the fact that the Clippers committed only one more foul (that one's hard to figure, but almost every Clipper foul was in the act of shooting). 

Unfortunately, the Clippers wasted a strong effort from Chris Kaman who went for 23 points and 15 rebounds in fewer than 32 minutes of play.  Rasual Butler also played pretty well, but that's pretty much the entirety of the bright side list.

But of course it was all inevitable.  Just head on down to Houston and see what you can do against the Rockets.