Spurs-Clippers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 07, 2012
The San Antonio Spurs' dominance of the Los Angeles Clippers carried into the playoffs last season. That doesn't seem likely to change just yet. The Spurs look to continue their best-ever start Wednesday night when they face the Clippers for the first time since sweeping them last spring. San Antonio (4-0) disposed of upstart Los Angeles (2-2) in four straight games in the second round of the playoffs last season before being eliminated by Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals. The Spurs' sweep of the Clippers wasn't much of a surprise since they had won 48 of the previous 54 regular-season meetings. San Antonio is 24-4 in its last 28 road games against the Clippers, including two playoff victories. The Spurs enter this visit to Staples Center on a season-opening four-game winning streak for the best start in the franchise's 40-year history. "It's just a stat, not that important in the long-term," swingman Manu Ginobili said. "(But) at this point we are enjoying it. It's curious that a team this successful hasn't started that well before." A season-high 57 points from their reserves helped the Spurs to a 101-79 rout of visiting Indiana on Monday. "That's kind of been our motto," said guard Gary Neal, who had 17 points off the bench. "With Manu (Ginobili) coming off and Stephen Jackson, those guys could be starting on any team in the NBA. We are a deep team. We've just got to maintain effort when the bench comes in." Tim Duncan continues to be a force for San Antonio in his 16th season, leading the team with 19.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. The 13-time All-Star averaged 21.0 points on 59.4 percent shooting against the Clippers in the playoffs. Tony Parker sat out the last regular-season meeting with Los Angeles due to a sore thigh, but went on to average 20.7 points in the final three postseason matchups. The Clippers are trying to avoid a winless three-game homestand after committing 25 turnovers - their highest total in almost two years - in Monday's 108-101 loss to Cleveland. Their 18.8 turnovers are among the most in the league. "You make 25 turnovers and you're going to lose just about every time," guard Chris Paul said. "But it's early though. It's better we do this now than later, but we'll be all right." Paul is averaging 18.5 points and 11.5 assists through four games, and he had 36 and 11, respectively, in a 120-108 win at San Antonio on March 9. However, he was held to 12.8 points per game with 9.3 assists in the playoff loss to the Spurs. Blake Griffin averaged 21.0 points and 7.8 rebounds in that series, and he's coming off a season-high 20-point performance against the Cavaliers. Despite the recent struggles, the Clippers are scoring 104.3 points per game, an increase of 6.8 points from last season.
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