Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/20/12
SAN ANTONIO -- With the attention in Los Angeles always on the Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers are used to playing second fiddle to the purple and gold. If the Clippers have their way, though, it might not stay that way for long. "We're hungry," Clippers forward Matt Barnes said. "The talk of the town, in our town, is always the Lakers. We feel we have just as good a team as anyone in the league." They proved it again Monday. Blake Griffin scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Clippers to a 92-87 win over the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in the opener of a four-game road trip. The Clippers, who led the whole second half, let the Spurs back in when Manu Ginobili's driving layup made the score 89-87 with 1:26. However, Chris Paul hit a turnaround jumper with 24 seconds to go, and then Eric Bledsoe connected on a free throw to give Los Angeles enough margin for the win. "Yeah, yeah I wanted to shoot," Paul said of his crucial shot. "I just need a little bit of space. I mean, I love those situations. We (are) up two, 24 seconds left, I want it." Paul finished with 19 points and eight assists. Barnes added a season-high 14 points, DeAndre Jordan had 13, and Jamal Crawford scored 11 for the Clippers (8-2). It's early in the season, but five of the Clippers' wins are against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Miami Heat, the Spurs and the Lakers, all championship-caliber teams. Los Angeles defeated San Antonio twice in a season for the first time since 1996-97. The Clippers defeated the Spurs 106-84 on Nov. 7. Last spring, the Spurs earned a four-game sweep against the Clippers in the second round of the playoffs. "Oh, yeah. I think there's an emphasis on every game, but especially for the guys here last year," Barnes said. "I think to get sweep out of the playoffs, it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth." San Antonio, playing without forward Stephen Jackson, who fractured his right little finger in the first quarter, struggled from the field, shooting 35 percent. Both teams' aggressiveness escalated in the third quarter, with tempers flaring and the usually docile Tim Duncan drawing a technical foul on a non-call. Duncan led the Spurs (8-3) with 20 points and a season-high 14 rebounds. Manu Ginobili had 15 points, Tony Parker 11 and Matt Bonner 10 for San Antonio. Jackson, playing in place of Kawhi Leonard (left knee tendinitis), was hurt in the first quarter. He was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture, and he is expected to miss four to six weeks. "It's tough, but every team goes through their injuries," Parker said. "We are just going to need other guys to step up." Clippers forward Caron Butler left in the first half due to a right shoulder strain, and he missed the remainder of the game. Los Angeles used an 18-2 run to jump on top 47-42 at halftime. Barnes scored 12 points in the half, 10 in the second quarter. The Spurs led 28-18 after the first quarter before going cold in the second, when they went 3-for-18 from the field (17 percent) and turned the ball over seven times. "We had a disappointing second quarter," Duncan said. "I thought we came out strong and had a very good first quarter and built some momentum, but we really lost it all in the second quarter." Duncan and Griffin battled evenly in the paint early on. Duncan had 11 points and hauled in eight rebounds in the first half. Griffin countered with six points and seven boards before the break. NOTES: The Spurs have dominated this series at home. Even with Monday's loss, they are 64-10 when playing the Clippers in San Antonio. ... The Clippers scored 924 points in their first nine games, the most points scored by an NBA team in its first nine games of a season since 1992-93. ... Los Angeles began the game with the NBA's top-scoring bench. The Clippers' reserves were averaging 42.2 points per game. San Antonio was third in the league in bench scoring at 40.2 per game. Each team got 42 points from reserves Monday.
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