Final

San Antonio wins series 4-0 (Game 3 of 4)

San Antonio wins series 4-0

Game 1: Tuesday, May 15th
Clippers92Final
Spurs108
Game 2: Thursday, May 17th
Clippers88Final
Spurs105
Game 3: Saturday, May 19th
Spurs96Final
Clippers86
Game 4: Sunday, May 20th
Spurs102Final
Clippers99

Spurs 96

(50-16, 22-11 away)

Clippers 86

(40-26, 24-9 home)

Coverage: ABC

3:30 PM ET, May 19, 2012

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

1 2 3 4 T
SA 11 32 26 2796
LAC 33 20 8 2586

Top Performers

San Antonio: T. Duncan 19 Pts, 13 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Blk

Los Angeles: B. Griffin 28 Pts, 16 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

Spurs rally past Clippers with 24-0 run, take 3-0 series lead

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Nothing was going to rattle the calm, cool and collected Spurs. Not even a 24-point deficit.

Tim Duncan scored 19 points, helping engineer a defining 24-0 run in the third quarter, and San Antonio defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 96-86 on Saturday to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their second-round playoff series.

"We didn't plan on being down that much," said Duncan, who at 36 is hungry to win the team's fifth NBA championship and first since 2006-07. "We stuck with it."

Led by Tony Parker's 23 points and his defense on an ailing Chris Paul, the Spurs kept running their plays even as Blake Griffin's early offensive assault buried them in a huge hole. Griffin missed three shots in the first half, when he scored 20 points and carried his team to a 24-point lead despite a left hip injury and a sprained right knee.

"They came out like we expected, very strong. Blake was making crazy shots," Parker said. "We just took our time. It's a long game, a very long game. At halftime, we were very calm."

Griffin had 28 points and 16 rebounds, and reserve Mo Williams added 19 points for the Clippers, who face some daunting NBA history heading into Game 4 on Sunday at Staples Center. No team has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.

"If we don't play with that sense of urgency, it's not going to be pretty," Griffin said.

Rookie Kawhi Leonard added 14 points and Manu Ginobili 13 to help the top-seeded Spurs win their 17th in a row and improve to 7-0 in the playoffs.

"We all struggled in the first quarter. We didn't feel right out there," said Duncan, who like his teammates, looked to Parker to pick the team up.

"We follow his lead. He stuck with it, made some big shots down the stretch and continued to attack," Duncan said. "He was playing defense really hard and got up into Chris."

Besides Parker, the Spurs threw two other defenders at Paul. He finished with 12 points and 11 assists after two previous sub-par efforts in the series.

"Tony really ran the show well," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I'd say, 'Let's do this' and he said, 'No, let's do this,' and we'd do it."

After a quiet first half in which he scored eight points, Duncan helped the Spurs control the third quarter when they outscored Los Angeles 26-8.

The Spurs took their first lead during the 24-0 run on a fadeaway jumper by Duncan, who scored nine points in the outburst that put them ahead for good. Danny Green added seven and Leonard five.

"We kept telling Kawhi and Danny to stay calm," Parker said.

The Clippers' defense completely faltered and they piled up miss after miss on the offensive end.

"When they spread the floor and Tim Duncan runs a high pick-and-roll, it's trouble for a lot of teams," Griffin said. "That's basically what killed us in the third. This is what they do best."

The Clippers scored the final four points of the third, which ended with a turnover by Williams, to trail 69-61 heading into the fourth.

"You knew they were going to make a run. It was just a matter of trying to withstand it," Griffin said. "In the second half, especially the third quarter, we did a poor job of responding.

"I missed some shots I hit in the first half, easy shots."

San Antonio led by 11 points early in the fourth before the Clippers got within seven on consecutive baskets by Williams. Gary Neal hit a 3-pointer to launch a 13-9 spurt, capped by Parker's 3-pointer, that extended the Spurs' lead to 89-78. Paul, so dominant in the final period during the regular season, was limited to four points.

Reggie Evans, a defensive spark for the Clippers off the bench, missed 6 of 8 free throws in the final 3:42.

"They play the same whether they're up 20 or down 20," Griffin said of the veteran Spurs. "Their communication and rotations are so good. Offensively, they know exactly what they're going to do in every situation."

The Spurs were 9 of 22 from 3-point range, with Leonard hitting three.

Los Angeles came in 2-1 at home in the playoffs and 24-9 during the regular season. With their red-clad sellout crowd on its feet, the Clippers were still shooting 63 percent midway through the second quarter, when Griffin's one-handed dunk kept them ahead by 20 points.

The Spurs closed the half on a 15-5 spurt, with Parker and Ginobili scoring five each, to trail 53-43 at the break. Griffin missed just three of his 13 shots in the first half, when the Clippers controlled the boards and the paint.

The Clippers opened the game with a rush, outscoring the Spurs 33-11 while shooting 64 percent. Los Angeles ended the first quarter on a 20-2 run, including 14 in a row. Griffin scored 12 points in the spurt, hitting eight straight while the Spurs committed six turnovers and made just five of 20 field goals.

Game notes

The Clippers have lost 29 of 33 games against the Spurs dating to Dec. 1, 2003. ... The Clippers have dropped all three games in the series by double digits. ... The Clippers have lost all six of their playoff series in franchise history after losing Game 1. ... The teams were even in the paint with 44 points each after the Spurs had dominated there in Game 2. ... The Clippers controlled the boards, 44-41, after being outrebounded in seven of their previous nine playoff games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SA
LAC
Points 96 86
FGM-FGA 35-76 (.461) 37-80 (.463)
3PM-3PA 9-22 (.409) 3-9 (.333)
FTM-FTA 17-25 (.680) 9-18 (.500)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-41 9-44
Assists 27 22
Turnovers 13 13
Steals 5 11
Blocks 7 8
Fast Break Points 10 6
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
Largest Lead 13 24

Top Performers

San Antonio
Los Angeles
Tim Duncan Duncan
Points: 19
Reb: 13
Ast: 4
Stl: 0
Blk: 3
Blake Griffin Griffin
Points: 28
Reb: 16
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 3

Research Notes

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have played 52 minutes together in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Spurs have outscored the Clippers by 44 points during those 52 minutes, including by 11 in 18 minutes during Game 3.
  [+]
After scoring 40 points in the first 14 minutes, and racing out to a 24-point lead, the Clippers scored just 46 points the rest of the way in a 10-point loss.
  [+]
The Spurs trailed by 22 points, 33-11, after the 1st quarter. It's the largest deficit at the end of the first quarter overcome to win a playoff game in NBA history. The previous record was 21 points in the 2008 NBA Finals, when the Celtics trailed the Lakers 35-14 and came back to win 97-91. (This is from the NBA record book)
  [+]

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