Clippers PF Blake Griffin came into Saturday’s game at San Antonio struggling. He had only 14 points each in a loss to the Thunder and a win Friday night in Memphis. Griffin only made 12-of-34 FGs (35.3 percent) in those games.
Clippers SG J.J. Redick wasn’t off to a good start this season, making only 39.2 percent from the field through five games.
Clippers SF Luc Mbah a Moute gets props for his defense, but he had to compete for his job in October because of nonexistent offense. Mbah a Moute had only 12 points on 13 shots in the first 5 games of the season.
And backup SG Jamal Crawford was off to a poor start shooting 3s, making only 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) to start the season.
On the 2nd night of a back-to-back, it would have been fair to expect the Clippers to engage in a grind-it-out affair with the Spurs, the best defense in the league last season. After all, the Clippers had a bottom-10 offense to go with the best defense in the league this season.
The Clippers did get it done on defense once again. But they complemented the defense with exceptional levels of offensive breakout.
By the end of the 1st quarter, Griffin had 16 points, more than either of the previous two games. By halftime, Griffin had 26 points, making as many baskets (12-of-16 FGs) than he had made in the previous two games combined. Griffin ended up with a season-high and game-high 28 points on 13-of-19 FGs, leading the Clippers to a 116-92 victory in San Antonio.
It was the largest win in San Antonio in Clippers franchise history, and T-7th largest home loss in Spurs franchise history. And the Clippers didn’t play any of the starters at all in the 4th quarter.
Redick was locked in early, dropping 10 of his season-high 14 points in the 1st quarter. Redick drove to the cup for an and-one, then followed that up with back-to-back threes. Redick has hit a three now in 62 straight games, the longest active streak in the league. And his 2nd three was made while drawing a foul:
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 6, 2016
Mbah a Moute started opposite Spurs SF Kawhi Leonard and wound up playing a season-high 24:22. Mbah a Moute scored more points in San Antonio than in his first 5 games of this season combined. Not only did Leonard score a season-low 14 points on 3-of-13 FGs, but Mbah a Moute scored 13 points on 5-of-9 FGs, including 2-of-4 from three-point range.
The Spurs scored the first 8 points of this game, but after a timeout with 10:36 left in the 1st quarter, the Clippers went on runs of 13 and 10 unanswered points. Griffin, Redick, and Mbah a Moute scored 31 of LA’s first 33 points of the game.
And Crawford led the bench with a season-high 16 points, making 6-of-10 from the field overall. Crawford made 3-of-5 threes, more made threes than the first five games of the season combined. Crawford passed former Clipper Grant Hill for 88th place on the all-time scoring list during the game as well. Speights also tied a season-high with 15 points off the bench.
Altogether, it was another strong game for the Clippers starting lineup of Chris Paul-Redick-Mbah a Moute-Griffin-DeAndre Jordan. That lineup was on the floor together for 22 minutes, outscoring San Antonio 50-36 while making 52.3 percent from the field. The Clippers put up 73 points in the first half, the most allowed by the Spurs at home in the first half since 1990.
The Clippers scored 21 points off of 9 Spurs turnovers in the 1st half as well, while LA had only 1 first half turnover. For the game, the Clippers outrebounded the Spurs 41-40 while also winning the turnover battle 15-9.
The Clippers will return home at 5-1 and in first place in the Pacific division, with the only blemish being a loss to 5-1 Oklahoma City. Of course, things could’ve been even better tonight…
Chris Paul dribbles between Pau Gasol's legs but can't finish pic.twitter.com/Zwn4Ht1r7Y
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) November 6, 2016