Spurs Complete Sweep of Clippers

Most of the statistics from Sunday night’s contest between the Clippers and San Antonio were identical.

Both team committed 22 fouls, scored nine fast break points, the two teams shot within five percentage points of each other and the final score was a difference of just one shot from beyond the arc. 

The biggest difference was the poise of San Antonio, four different players accounted for the final 10 points of the game, as it completed a sweep of Los Angeles with a 102-99 victory.

The Spurs became the fourth team to sweep the first two rounds of the playoffs since the first round format was changed to a best-of-7 in 2003.

San Antonio hasn’t lost since April 11, a span of 18 consecutive games because of its balanced attack.

All 10 players to make an appearance in Game 4 registered at least two points, six scored in double figures and no one attempted more than 15 shots.

By not relying heavily on individual players, coach Gregg Popovich was able to limit everyone’s minutes, as Tony Parker was the only Spur to log over 30 minutes in the series finale.

For the second time this post season, San Antonio played the minimum amount of games, buying valuable resting time for Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili prior to its eighth appearance in the Western Conference Finals since the 1994-95 season.

San Antonio advanced behind Duncan’s ability to dominate his match-up with Blake Griffin, the exact opposite type of player.

Even though they both scored 84 points, blocked eight shots and Duncan grabbed just six more rebounds during the series, Griffin rarely was able to ignite Los Angeles with his above the rim antics.

The Clippers needed Griffin to dominate, San Antonio was content with Duncan’s efficiency, as he connected on 9-of-14 shots from the field.

Griffin scored the first two points of the fourth quarter for the Clippers Sunday afternoon, but during the final 11:30 seconds of the game, he missed one shot attempt, had his other blocked and secured one rebound.

Although he connected on 12-of-15 free throw attempts in the series, Griffin was clearly hesitant in the final quarter as he shot 52.1 percent at the line during the regular season

Duncan was fully engaged.

Aside from his four points in the final period, Duncan was vital during the key fourth quarter stretch.

Trailing 94-92 with just under four minutes remaining, he submitted a vintage performance. He started by setting up Ginobili at the rim, knocking down a hook shot from five feet away from the basket and finding Parker for a layup.

Tim Duncan finished with 21 points and nine rebounds to help San Antonio complete its sweep.

Los Angeles still had a chance to tie the game, but a jumper at the rim from Chris Paul didn’t drop and Duncan swooped in for his ninth rebound of the game, ensuring the Spurs advanced.

Combined with Paul to form Lob City, Griffin scored 20 or more points in each of his last three games but Duncan was able to equal his production.

Without a clear advantage in the front court, the key to the series came to down the individual battle between Paul and Parker.

Paul entered the series with a hip injury suffered in the opening round against Memphis but elevated his game in the series finale.

Paul shot 9-of-18 from the field, with 23 points, 11 assists six rebounds and two steals. Game 4 marked the first time he scored over 20 points in the series.

Any advantage the Clippers had at point guard couldn’t be clearly defined because of Parker’s ability to counter.

Parker shot just 5-of-13 from the field, but finished with 17 points, connecting on a game-high 7-of-9 attempts from the foul line.

During the first three games of the series, Parker out scored Paul and limited him to 12-of-39 shooting from the field.

The Clippers season came to an end at the same time a frantic weekend at the Staples Center closed.

With the Lakers and Los Angeles Kings all in action, the arena hosted six games in four days.

Just hours before tip off, the Kings fell to Phoenix 2-0, forcing arena workers to quickly convert to the ice rink to a basketball court, without any glitches.

San Antonio needs just eight wins to clinch its fifth championship for the pairing of Duncan and Popovich.

For one series, Duncan proved he is still the most dominant power forward in the conference.

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About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.
This entry was posted in Featured Stories, Player Profiles, Western Conference and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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