Clippers battle past Spurs despite Paul injury

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2016 3:28 AM

(The Sports Xchange) - Despite losing Chris Paul to a hamstring injury, the Los Angeles Clippers beat the San Antonio Spurs 106-101 at Staples Center on Thursday.

Paul suffered a strained left hamstring early in the third quarter and did not return. He finished with a team-high 19 points, six assists and seven rebounds in 23 minutes.

Without Paul, the Clippers received a boost from their bench. Marreese Speights had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Raymond Felton added 13 points.

Jamal Crawford chipped in 11 points as the Clippers' reserves outscored the Spurs' bench 58-31.

Center DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and nine rebounds, and J.J. Redick also scored 11 for the Clippers (22-8), who beat the Spurs for the second time this season.

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs (23-6) with 27 points and nine rebounds. Pau Gasol contributed 21 points and eight rebounds. Danny Green and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 10 apiece.

The Spurs lost for only the second time on the road and are 15-2 away from home.

The Spurs cut the Clippers' double-digit halftime lead several times in the second half but were unable to overcome it.

San Antonio closed to within five early in the fourth quarter but again the Clippers increased the deficit back to double figures again. The Spurs made a late run near the end, but it was not enough.

The Clippers dictated for much of the first half, taking a 57-45 lead the break. They held the Spurs to 38.5 percent shooting while hitting 50 percent of their shots in the first half.

Los Angeles converted 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from behind the arc compared to 2-of-6 (33.3 percent) for San Antonio.

For the game, the Clippers hit 46.4 percent of their shots to 40.2 percent for the Spurs. From long distance, the Clippers were 11-of-28 (39.3 percent) to 6-of-19 (31.6 percent)

The Spurs played without reserve Manu Ginobili after Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decided to rest the 39-year-old before the trip.

Before leaving, Paul passed Kevin Garnett (16th) for career steals with 1,859. Paul is one theft shy of moving pass Isiah Thomas for 15th place at 1,861.

Paul's problem added to the Clippers' injury woes. Forward Blake Griffin underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday and could be out for up to six weeks.