***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
Saturday, May 2
(All times Eastern)
(6) SAN ANTONIO SPURS (3-3) AT (3) LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (3-3), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - It's only fitting that the single best first-round
series is the only one going the distance.
The Los Angeles Clippers and defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs will
play Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinals Saturday night at the
On paper, this looked like the most compelling first-round matchup, and the
two sides have not disappointed. The road team has prevailed in four of the
six games, so all bets are off come Saturday night.
"It's a shame that one of these two great teams' seasons will end on Saturday,
either way," Clippers reserve Jamal Crawford said. "It's been an unbelievable
series, one of the best first-round series I can remember."
And Game 7 will get a special place in history for what is shaping up to be
one of the most memorable sports days in recent memory.
The Stanley Cup playoffs are in round two, the New York Yankees face the
Boston Red Sox, the NFL Draft is ongoing, the 141st Kentucky Derby will run
before the tip of Game 7, then the night closes with Manny Pacquiao versus
Floyd Mayweather in one boxing's most anticipated fights ever.
Give the Clippers credit for forcing Game 7. Facing an elimination game in San
Antonio on Thursday night, the Clips, an organization that has never reached
the Western Conference Finals, held on for a 102-96 victory.
Blake Griffin totaled 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists to lead LA.
Chris Paul recorded his second straight double-double with 19 points and 15
assists, DeAndre Jordan put up his usual 15 points and 14 rebounds, and J.J.
Redick chimed in with 19 points for the victors.
The Spurs had won their last seven potential closeout games at home but
allowed the Clippers to shoot 47.5 percent from the floor and were outscored
18-2 in fastbreak points.
"We should be embarrassed about how we came out for a closeout game," said
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is 3-2 all-time in Game 7s. "We lost because
the Clippers were physical, focused and played harder than we did."
Marco Belinelli stayed out of Popovich's dog house, pouring in 23 points on 7-
of-11 shooting from behind the arc. Tim Duncan added 12 points and 13
rebounds, while Boris Diaw scored 17 points off the bench.
Kawhi Leonard, the reigning NBA Finals MVP, scored 12 points but missed 12
shots, including a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final minute.
Paul, who shot 7-of-14 from the floor in the second half after being held
without a field goal in the first, followed Leonard's miss with a clutch
floater for a 98-93 lead.
Crawford followed a Belinelli 3 with two free throws, and Belinelli appeared
to make another one from long range when Griffin was originally called for
goaltending. Upon review, however, the officials ruled Diaw touched the ball
inside the cylinder, and the violation essentially ended any chance of a
There was a bit of deja vu from Game 5, as Jordan goaltended a potential go-
ahead basket by Griffin in the final minute. The Spurs went on to win 111-107.
LA's Glen Davis sprained his ankle after 10 minutes of action in Game 6. He is
listed as questionable on Saturday and his potential loss could be
problematic. The Clippers have only played three off the bench this series,
The winner gets the Houston Rockets in round two, starting Monday night in
Before that, it's Game 7 on the greatest sports day of the year.
"This series should go seven. It's right," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
05/02 09:04:29 ET