Games on deadline day are usually a little funky. Players have to deal with the emotions of saying goodbye to teammates, and rosters are shortened with so many individuals moving across the league.
The Clippers were already a little shorthanded without Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka in San Antonio. Then, they dealt Lou Williams. And then, Kawhi Leonard and Marcus Morris Sr. were ruled out pregame, leaving the team with an eight-man rotation on the second night of a back-to-back against a team looking for a little revenge after a blowout loss Wednesday.
Despite all of those factors working against them, the Clippers continued their recent stretch of strong play, earning the 98-85 win. It wasn’t the prettiest offensive performance, but their defensive effort and execution were excellent, giving the team some breathing room despite the shooting struggles. The Clippers remain undefeated on the second night of back-to-backs with their eighth such win of the season.
Incredibly, this is the first time in franchise history that the Clippers have won three straight games in San Antonio as they win their fourth straight game overall.
Reggie Jackson was excellent throughout, leading off the first quarter with 12 points, including four from the foul line, and finishing with a game-high 28, which is also his best total of the season. He continues to be an excellent release valve late in the shot clock, and he had 10 of the team’s final 12 points, including a beautiful turnaround jumper with 3:42 to play to keep the Spurs at bay.
Paul George had to carry a large offensive load with the four other starters missing. His shooting tailed off at the end of the game, but he still had 24 points and 13 rebounds, and was a plus-20 in his 24 minutes.
Ivica Zubac was once again a menace with his pressure at the basket. The Spurs made his life difficult scoring the ball, so he adjusted by keeping possessions alive on the offensive glass (seven offensive rebounds) and stuffing San Antonio on the other end. He had five blocks and helped limit the Spurs to 13-of-24 shooting at the rim.
The Clippers made their big run in the third quarter, outscoring the Spurs 23-13 to take the lead for good. Terance Mann’s young legs were key in that stretch, as he played the entire period. Amir Coffey and Luke Kennard were also important for their fresh legs and energy during that stretch.
It looked liked LA might run out of gas, but their defense continued to save the day. San Antonio only scored 30 second-half points, and the Clippers emerged with the sweep. Up next is another emotionally-charged game against Philadelphia.