San Antonio's Boris Diaw, right, blocks a shot by Clippers center… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
The Clippers came back from 24-points down in the fourth quarter of Game 1 to shock the Memphis Grizzlies.
It was one of the greatest comeback wins in NBA history.
Could the Clippers possibly do it again, in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals?
San Antonio held off a fourth-quarter barrage Tuesday night to defeat the Clippers, 108-92, and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
But at least the OTHER team from Los Angeles made the Spurs sweat.
The Clippers chopped an 18-point Spurs lead down to eight before running out of gas.
It was the first playoff meeting ever between the teams, and it made you want to see more.
Stephen Jackson’s three-pointer to start the fourth put the Spurs up by 18, but the plucky Clippers went on a 7-0 run to force Coach Gregg Popovich into a quick time out.
The Clippers did not relent, trimming the lead to eight on Eric Bledsoe’s follow of a Chris Paul miss.
The Spurs, though, took control in the final minutes to win by a comfortable margin. San Antonio has won 15 straight games and 28 of its last 30.
San Antonio showed little rustiness after an eight-day layoff following its opening round sweep of Utah, while the Clippers did appear wary late after its seven-game series against Memphis.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul both started the game and played through injuries that will likely linger through the series.
Griffin started hot but faded late, finishing with 15 points on seven-for-17 shooting.
Paul made only three of 13 shots and finished with six points.
Eric Bledsoe led the Clippers with 21 points while Caron Butler scored 13 of his 15 points in a red-hot third quarter.
Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 26 points while Manu Ginobli had 22.
The Spurs killed the Clippers from outside, making 13 of 25 three-point shots.
San Antonio has only missed the playoffs four times since 1976 and captured four NBA titles in the last 13 years.
The Clippers’ playoff history could be explained on the corner of a napkin, but may not be far from writing more of their own history.
Spurs 87, Clippers 72 (end of third quarter)
The Clippers’ hopes are slip, sliding away after a quarter in which San Antonio looked like the superior team. But didn’t’ we know that?
Caron Butler did his best to keep the Clippers in the same area code. Butler scored 13 in the quarter, but San Antonio’s outside sharp shooters were too much.
Butler ran out of the locker room and hit two quick jump shots to cut the lead to 57-53 (breathless pause)…and then San Antonio went on 8-0 run to push the lead all the way to 12.
Kawhi Leonard’s three forced a Clippers’ time out to assess the situation. It wasn’t good.
It might have been a runaway sooner had Butler not hit two three pointers. Butler, of course, is playing with a spiral break in his left hand. It’s obviously not his shooting hand.
Tim Duncan may be approaching Social Security, but he can still play when summoned to the occasion. You could hang laundry on the line drive jumpers Duncan shoots (and makes).
He has 20 points after three quarters.
At last count, San Antonio has made 11 of its 17 three point attempts, and they’re not down counting.
Four Spurs are in double-digit scoring.
Remember how we said DeAndre Jordan came out smoking? Well, he’s still stuck on seven points and eight rebounds.