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Undermanned Clippers falls to Spurs

Without Zach Randolph and Eric Gordon, the Clippers lose to San Antonio for the 11th straight time. Tim Duncan has 18 points and 12 rebounds.

March 03, 2009|Lisa Dillman

Sadly for Clippers' fans, the season did not end with a freeze frame of that improbable two-point win against the Celtics last week.

There was, after all, the pesky matter of, oh, about 20-something games left on their schedule.

So what about the staying power of the victory over Boston?

As it turned out, it was about as long lasting as a rally on the stock market.

Three games, three losses . . . and counting since that season highlight, the latest defeat coming on Monday night to San Antonio.

The Spurs pulled away steadily and breezed against the Clippers, winning, 106-78, at Staples Center behind stellar efforts from their usual suspects, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.

Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy was fielding questions before the game about the Spurs, mainly in regard to potential Lakers playoff implications.

"They have a playbook this thick," he said, spreading his hands.

Their Reader's Digest version isn't bad either.

"Or they can go with the Tony Parker Show," Dunleavy said.

That worked well against the depleted Clippers roster, missing the likes of Zach Randolph and Eric Gordon. Even with those two, it was destined to be a tough assignment against one of the best in the Western Conference. It was the Clippers' 11th consecutive loss to the Spurs (40-19).

Duncan had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Parker contributed a game-high 26 points and 10 assists. San Antonio had the rebounding edge (52-37), 10 more second-chance points and the edge in points in the paint (46-36).

Fred Jones and Al Thornton, who overcame a slow start, led the Clippers (15-46) with 14 points each. Rookie guard Mike Taylor had 13 points and Marcus Camby had 12 points and eight rebounds. Jones did hit a crazy 62-footer to end the first quarter, a rare highlight for the Clippers.

"We struggled so much to make shots without an anchor and low-post player like Zach Randolph," Dunleavy said. "When we had the opportunity to make shots we just did not make them.

" . . . We're missing 50 to 60 points out of our lineup."

He was lumping the long-injured Chris Kaman in with missing Randolph and Gordon. Ricky Davis (sore left knee) and Mardy Collins (right foot) were also out against the Spurs.

Randolph is back home in Indiana to be with his father, who is critically ill. On Saturday, Randolph put in a determined effort, particularly in the fourth quarter, and nearly carried the Clippers against Charlotte in a five-point loss to the Bobcats.

He then took a red-eye flight after the game to join his family.

The other huge missing component was Gordon, who missed his third straight game because of a bruised left shoulder. Gordon said he thought he might return to action on Saturday against Indiana.

Injuries are one thing. But Thornton and Baron Davis had particularly awful starts against the Spurs. When the Clippers called a timeout with less than eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, Davis and Thornton were a combined two for 16 from the field. The rest of the Clippers were seven for 14.

Parker was asked about the difference between Davis and the Davis of old.

"You have to give him the freedom and let him go and play like he did at Golden State," he said.


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