NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, November 19th
(All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Clippers (7-2) at San Antonio Spurs (8-2), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A huge showdown in the Western Conference takes places
Monday night when the Los Angeles Clippers head to San Antonio to battle the
Standings-wise, these are two of the top three teams in the West and for the
Clippers, it's the start of a four-game road trip. Only two of the Clippers'
first nine have been on the road, and one, was when they were visitors in
their game against fellow Staples Center occupants, the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Clips bring a five-game winning streak into Alamo City. During this strong
run, Los Angeles has done it with defense, holding opponents to 86 ppg.
"The reason we're having fun right now is because we are defending," said
Chris Paul, who is sixth in the NBA in steals. "It's amazing because our
season is pretty much predicated on defense because we have the offensive
Paul's right about the firepower. The Clippers, whose 7-2 mark equals the best
nine-game start in franchise history, rank second to the Miami Heat in scoring
and lead the league in field-goal percentage bench points per game.
This winning streak started with a 106-84 victory over the Spurs on Nov. 7.
Four of the five wins came by double-digits, with the only single-digit margin
of victory against the Heat.
The Spurs have won four of their last five with the only blemish a home loss
to the New York Knicks. San Antonio got back into the win column Saturday
night with a 126-100 drubbing of the Denver Nuggets.
"It was a great response after a tough loss against New York," said head coach
Gregg Popovich. "That's what you like to see."
Kawhi Leonard has quadriceps tendinitis in his left knee and will be out of
action for two weeks. Stephen Jackson started in his place and scored nine
points and grabbed nine boards.
Manu Ginobili had his best game of the season on Saturday. He netted 20 points
on 7-for-10 shooting in just 23 minutes of action.
"We're not obviously as good a team when Manu doesn't play well," said
The Spurs built an 18-point lead after the first quarter against Denver. They
extended to 20 at the half and this one turned into a laugher by the fourth
quarter. No Spurs player logged more than 29 minutes.
Now, it's time for the huge contest with the Clippers and a renewed
commitment to defense.
"I know that they played with a lot of energy," Pop said of the Clippers'
game. "We didn't guard them very well. They pretty much scored at will."
With the win earlier this month, that's two in a row for the Clippers in this
series against the Spurs, but San Antonio has owned this matchup in recent
history. The Spurs are 20-3 versus the Clips and are 26-2 at home in this
11/19 10:33:22 ET