News » Spurs-Clippers Preview 2009-03-02

Spurs-Clippers Preview 2009-03-02

Spurs-Clippers Preview 2009-03-02
The San Antonio Spurs haven't lost three games in a row since the first week of the season. Facing the Los Angeles Clippers might prevent it from happening again.

With Tim Duncan back on the court, the Spurs look for their 11th straight victory over the lowly Clippers on Monday night at Staples Center.

After missing the previous three games with a quad injury, Duncan wasn't much of a factor in San Antonio's 102-84 loss at Portland on Sunday. The All-Star finished with 14 points and sat the entire fourth quarter.

"I hate to walk back into a situation like this and not play well and get blown out," said Duncan, averaging 20.5 points and 10.6 rebounds.

Looking to avoid their first three-game skid since opening 2008-09 with three straight losses, the Spurs (39-19) might be able to limit Duncan's minutes again, but for a better reason.

Los Angeles (15-45) has not beaten San Antonio since a 98-85 home win on March 7, 2006. The Spurs, who have won 10 straight and 18 of the last 19 games in the series, will try for their sixth straight road victory against the Clippers.

San Antonio has held Los Angeles to an average of 83.5 points in the last 10 meetings.

Duncan had 20 points and 15 rebounds in San Antonio's 86-83 win at Los Angeles on Nov. 17. He had eight points with nine assists in the Spurs' 106-84 home win over the Clippers on Jan. 8 - their most recent matchup.

While the Spurs don't want to push Duncan, they could use him at his best, especially with star reserve Manu Ginobili expected to miss at least another week with an ankle injury.

The Southwest Division-leading Spurs are second in the Western Conference, one game ahead of Northwest Division-leading Denver.

San Antonio, which lost 97-86 at home to Cleveland on Friday, trailed 64-37 at halftime against Portland. The Spurs had allowed an average of 76.5 points in the four games prior to losing their last two.

"It shows possibly a laissez-faire sort of attitude," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Point guard Tony Parker had 15 points Sunday but only four assists. He was also held to 11 points and six assists against Cleveland after combining for 76 and 21 assists in his previous two games.

Parker scored a team-high 19 points in the Spurs' January win over the Clippers.

Los Angeles looks to avoid a third straight loss after falling 100-95 at home to Charlotte on Saturday. Zach Randolph had 33 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who shot 50.7 percent but committed 15 turnovers the Bobcats turned into 17 points.

"We shot over 50 percent for the game, but missed a lot of good shots," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "The turnovers and second-chance points killed us."

With star rookie point guard Eric Gordon likely to miss his third straight game with a bruised shoulder, Los Angeles may be forced to rely on Randolph (22.4 ppg) to score and help contain Duncan.

Randolph is averaging 25.3 points and 11 rebounds in his last four contests overall, but has totaled only 28 points in his last two games versus the Spurs.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 2, 2009


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