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Sleepy Spurs Roll Over and Crush the Clippers

December 24, 1987|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

Coach Bob Weiss of the San Antonio Spurs called off practice before Wednesday's game against the Clippers because his team was road weary.

"We had a sleep-around instead of a shoot-around," Weiss joked. "We left the hotel in Sacramento at 6:30 in the morning."

Ironically, it was the Spurs who put the Clippers to sleep. They won, 111-97, before a crowd of 7,763 fans at the Sports Arena.

Guard Alvin Robertson, who had been benched in the fourth period of the Spurs' 120-96 loss at Sacramento Tuesday night, came back with a big game. He scored 31 points, 20 in the first half, as San Antonio broke a seven-game road losing streak. The Spurs (11-12) are 2-11 on the road this season.

"I think I had a good game and we played well, but the bottom line is that I'm just glad we won," Robertson said. "I don't know what the situation was with the Clipper defense, but a win is a win and it makes no difference how you get it."

Robertson, the triggerman on the Spurs' fast break, also had 12 rebounds and 7 assists.

"Alvin came back very strong after last night," Weiss said. "I didn't bench him last night. I took him out because we had a few too many turnovers and we were down by 20. Once we were out of it, I didn't put him back in. But I think he had it under control tonight, and he did a great job on the break. What made our break so effective was our defense. "

The Clippers also made ex-Clipper Kurt Nimphius look like an All-Star center. Nimphius, who was traded away last season, came off the bench to score 13 points for the Spurs.

Nimphius said the Clippers didn't look as bad as they did last year.

"The Clippers have changed," Nimphius said. "They've been winning. Last year, we didn't know what it felt like to win."

Forward David Greenwood, a former UCLA star, had 16 points and 15 rebounds in 35 minutes, and guard Johnny Dawkins had 16 points and 8 assists.

The Clippers (8-14) did little right as they all but gift wrapped the game as an early Christmas present for the Spurs.

Clipper Coach Gene Shue wasn't in a very festive mood after his watching his team lose its second straight. Shue, who had planned to give his team Christmas off, decided instead to schedule a practice.

"Let's face it, you guys watched the game and we didn't have a very good game," Shue told reporters afterward. "We were off key for the first time this season. There was just nothing out there offensively.

"Our defense is what keeps us in the game, and it just wasn't there tonight. And we didn't have it on offense. We shot 33% in the first half."

Shue tried a lot of combinations, but nothing worked.

Earl Cureton, a veteran swingman, seemed to be the most effective Clipper. He came off the bench to score a season-high 21 points in 29 minutes. He also had 8 rebounds.

Mike Woodson, the Clippers' leading scorer this season, had a miserable shooting night along with the rest of the team. Woodson, who had 10 points, made only 5 of 16 shots. Guard Larry Drew wasn't much better, making only 3 of 11. Guard Reggie Williams hit just 5 of 14, and center Benoit Benjamin hit 2 of 7.

"It was one of those nights," Woodson said. "It was the flattest we've been this season."

Clipper Notes

Saturday night's game against the Boston Celtics at the Sports Arena is a sellout. The game will be televised live by Channel 5. Boston has won six straight against the Clippers dating back to Feb. 22, 1984, when the Clippers beat the Celtics, 114-107, in San Diego . . . Forward Joe Wolf, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Dec. 11, said he had hoped to return for the Celtic game, but it doesn't look like he'll be back until next week, when the team leaves on a two-week East Coast trip . . . The 62 points scored by the Spurs were the most the Clippers had given up in the first half since the second game of the season.

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