Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/8/12
LOS ANGELES -- The San Antonio Spurs entered their Wednesday matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers as one of two undefeated teams left in the NBA, a wily, veteran group that found a way to win its first four games. Then they faced the fresh legs of the Clippers and no longer felt wily or veteran, just tired and spent. Los Angeles ran away from the Spurs with a big third quarter and dealt San Antonio its first loss of the season, 106-84 at Staples Center. The Clippers turned a six-point halftime lead into a 20-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter, then continued to apply pressure to the struggling Spurs, who shot just 41 percent from the field and committed a season-high 20 turnovers. "One thing about San Antonio is they never give up," Los Angeles guard Chris Paul said. "Never give up. I don't care if (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) takes out the first five, when Gary Neal comes in, they keep playing hard. We just tried to keep the pressure up on them. They play the same way for 48 minutes, and that's why they're a tough team and always will be." The Clippers wrestled away some of the toughness with a strong performance by the frontcourt duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Griffin had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Jordan had a 11 boards and a surprising 20 points -- including eight in the decisive third quarter -- on 10-of-12 shooting. Paul added 10 points and 12 assists for Los Angeles (3-2), which won after losing two in a row. "Last year, we (generally) came out a little sluggish and slow in the third quarter," Jordan said. "We knew with a team like this, Pop was going to get on them at halftime and they were going to come out and run some stuff in the third quarter. We wanted to come out aggressive and with our intensity high and try to build a bigger lead." The Spurs (4-1) had an off night offensively. No San Antonio player had more than eight shot attempts, and only Danny Green (12 points) and Tim Duncan (10 points) finished in double figures. Tony Parker had four points and Manu Ginobili had nine for San Antonio. "We got blown out, we didn't play well," Duncan said. "We can go into the logistics of the entire thing, try to break down the entire game. Bottom line is we didn't play well, they played better, we lost, they won. Bottom line, end of story." Duncan was frustrated by the Spurs' lack of energy. The Clippers, meanwhile, had no problem in that area, as the spring in Jordan's step spurred the team. The Clippers expect points from Griffin, not so much from Jordan. Yet both had 10 points to lead Los Angeles to a 47-41 halftime advantage. Jordan also added five rebounds and two blocks before the break, while Griffin contributed six rebounds. "I thought (Jordan) was very active," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He was playing above the rim. We got some defensive stops, so that got us out on the break, and he got some easy layups and dunks there. He needs to do that. He's got to do that. There are no ifs. He has to bring that energy every game, no matter who we're playing." The Clippers gained a six-point lead to end the first quarter and stretched it to 11 on a Matt Barnes 3-pointer with just more than eight minutes left in the half. San Antonio responded and trimmed the lead to as little as three. The Spurs had a chance to go into the half down by three, but Boris Diaw missed a 25-foot 3-pointer with one second left. NOTES: Clippers veteran guard Chauncey Billups said on ESPN's "NBA Countdown" that he hoped to return from a left Achilles injury in a month. He added that he had returned to practice with the team. ... Clippers forward Grant Hill, meanwhile, remains out with a bone bruise in his right knee, and there is no timetable for his return. ... Del Negro played for the Spurs from 1992-98. ... Paul entered the game as the league's assist leader with 46. ... The Clippers, who were outrebounded in each of their first four games this season, had a 46-29 rebounding advantage.
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