LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers had been waiting for this game for about six months. While a regular-season game in November doesn't quite hold the same weight of a playoff game in May, after getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the playoffs last season, the Clippers had been looking forward to their first shot at San Antonio this season.
From the opening tip it looked as though the Clippers let out six months' worth of built-up aggression on the Spurs. The Clippers jumped out to a 20-point lead to start the fourth quarter before eventually winning, 106-84, to hand the Spurs their first loss of the season (4-1), while improving their record to 3-2.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Griffin powers through
There was no doubt that Clippers forward Blake Griffin would play in Wednesday’s game but there was some question as to how long Griffin would play and how effective he would be. Griffin has been playing through a burst bursa sac in his right elbow and a neck strain that limited him in Tuesday's practice and Wednesday's shootaround. Griffin, however, responded when the game began, finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double of the season, in only 30 minutes. Griffin was a force on both ends of the court and finished the game with a couple of big lob dunks from Matt Barnes to put the final exclamation point on the Clippers' biggest win of the season.
When looking at the Clippers' starting lineup, it isn't often that DeAndre Jordan and Willie Green make much of a dent on the offensive end. Against the Spurs, however, both players were huge factors in the Clippers' win. Jordan had 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. Green finished with 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting. Jordan was a walking highlight reel in the game, finishing with a handful of dunks that would rival anything Griffin has done in Lob City while having his most complete game this season.
Energy and turnovers
The biggest problems for the Clippers during back-to-back losses to the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers were a lack of energy and an abundance of turnovers. Against the Spurs, neither was an issue as the Clippers came out motivated from the opening tip and finished with only 15 turnovers. The energy the Clippers showed not only came from their starters but from a second unit that plays at breakneck speeds with Eric Bledsoe running the show. Bledsoe finished with 15 points and had some of the more electrifying plays in the game. In the fourth quarter while the Spurs were trying to mount a comeback, Bledsoe cut through the defense and finished at the basket and then helped cause a Spurs turnover a couple of seconds later to kill any momentum the Spurs were hoping to build on. Jamal Crawford and Barnes combined to score 27 points as the Clippers' bench scored 34 points. The Spurs' bench finished with 46 points but it wasn't enough for San Antonio with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker combining for 14 points.