NBA Basketball: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers – Spurs Favored
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The San Antonio Spurs have won a season-high eight straight games. They’ll look to push that streak to nine when they visit the Los Angeles Clippers, a team they have dominated over the last decade.
San Antonio (41-18) has won 11 of its last 12 against the Clippers, including both meetings this season.
The Spurs are 31-5 against Los Angeles since drafting Tim Duncan in 1997.
Duncan scored 26 points – 15 in the first quarter – on 10-of-14 shooting to lead the Spurs to a 97-74 rout of Houston on Saturday, San Antonio’s fourth straight road win. The All-Star forward is averaging 20.1 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 61.8 percent from the floor during the Spurs’ run.
"It feels good to hit your first few shots," Duncan said. "It makes the rest of the game go easy. My shot felt good the entire night."
While Duncan has been providing the offense, the Spurs have also been getting it done with defense. San Antonio, allowing a league-best 90.0 points per game on the season, is holding opponents to 81.1 during the win streak. The Spurs’ average margin of victory over that stretch is 18.8 points.
The Spurs won Saturday despite playing without starting guard Tony Parker, their second-leading scorer. Parker is listed as day-to-day with a strained left hip.
The Clippers (29-30) are dealing with their own point-guard issues. Shaun Livingston seriously injured his left knee while driving to the basket against Charlotte last Monday, and Sam Cassell has missed the last two games with a groin strain.
Cassell could return Monday, but Livingston will miss 8-12 months with three torn ligaments.
"It’s probably the most serious injury you can have to the knee," Clippers physician Dr. Tony Daly said Tuesday. "He might miss all of next year.”
Despite losing their top two point guards, the Clippers have won four of their last five games. They held Indiana to 35.7 percent shooting in an 87-64 victory over the Pacers on Saturday, setting a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a game.
Elton Brand had 17 points and 12 rebounds, his 26th double-double of the season and third in five contests. Brand is averaging 20.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in the team’s last five games, helping the Clippers move into seventh place in the Western Conference.
"This is a great record for us, especially at this time," Brand said Saturday. "Some of the guys that log a lot of minutes got some rest tonight. And when we can put that type of defense and intensity together for a full game, we are going to be hard to beat."
Corey Maggette has stepped up since injuries forced him into the Clippers’ starting lineup. Formerly the team’s top reserve, Maggette led Los Angeles with 20 points Saturday and is averaging 19.2 points on 50.0 percent shooting in six games as a starter since the All-Star break.
Los Angeles has won 12 of its last 16 home games, including four in a row. San Antonio, though, is 21-10 on the road and second only to Phoenix (23) in road wins.
Duncan had 17 points, five rebounds and six assists in the last matchup with Los Angeles, a 103-81 Spurs win at Staples Center on Dec. 11. Duncan has career averages of 21.9 points and 11.9 rebounds against the Clippers.
The teams close out the season series March 13 in San Antonio.
By: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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