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Clippers can only talk a good game as Spurs take 2-0 series lead

San Antonio wins Game 2, 105-88, following its 16-point Game 1 win with another blowout, and Clippers players are left with little more than a belief things will be better when series shifts to Staples.

May 17, 2012|By Broderick Turner

SAN ANTONIO — They said all the right things, all the cliches, all the things losing teams say.

The Spurs protected their home court, the Clippers said after San Antonio had beaten them, 105-88, Thursday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals at the AT&T Center.

They did what they were supposed to do, the Clippers said after the Spurs opened a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

They held serve and now it's up to us to hold serve on our home court, the Clippers said.

"We can't put our heads down," said Chris Paul, who had his second subpar game in the series. "We're not playing against a bunch of scrubs. They are a good team.

"At the end of the day, they won their two games. We go home and they get one of those, we're in trouble. But I think right now, we've got to protect our home court. We're going to need our L.A. fans to support us."

The Clippers will host the Spurs in back-to-back Games 3 and 4 Saturday and Sunday at Staples Center. For both teams, it will be three games in four days. For the Clippers, who went seven games against Memphis in the first round, it will be nine games in 16 days.

And if they want to last much longer than four games against the top-seeded Spurs, the Clippers figure to need significantly more than the one rebound they got from Blake Griffin on Thursday, and better than the 10 points, five assists and eight turnovers they got from Paul.

"We're going home," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Hopefully we get some confidence playing at home."

The Spurs are on a roll, having won all six their playoff games, and 16 straight dating to the regular season.

Five Spurs scored in double figures Thursday, led by Tony Parker with 22 points and Tim Duncan with 18.

"It's just the fact that we are going home and we tend to play better at home," said Griffin, who scored 20 points. "We're not going into these next two games thinking, 'Let's try to keep it close.' There's no moral victories and moral losses here. We're not worried about how many points we lost by."

Well, if anyone is counting, the Clippers lost Game 2 by 17 points and Game 1 by 16.

Statisticians didn't have to work much to count up Griffin's rebounds, though Paul's turnovers kept them busier.

"I personally have to do a better job of rebounding," Griffin said. "I should never have one rebound in [36 minutes 51 seconds] of play."

"I don't ever recall having that many turnovers," said Paul, who had nearly half the team's total of 18. "Man, it's just that many possessions we don't get."

It didn't help the Clippers that Griffin added a left hip injury to a sprained right knee, or that Paul continued to play despite a strained right hip.

"That's kind of what happens when you hurt one and you hurt something else," Griffin said. "But this one shouldn't be too bad."

Paul refused to admit his injury is affecting his game, but he doesn't look like the same player who often carried the team this season and in the first playoff round.

"No excuses," Paul said.

The Spurs shot just 30.8% (four for 13) from three-point range in the first half, but heated up in the second half, making six of 12.

They shot 53.2% from the field for the game, doing seemingly whatever they pleased against the Clippers' defense.

"I want us to battle," Del Negro said. "I want us to claw, do whatever we have to and give ourselves an opportunity. I expect us to play better than we have the last couple of games."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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