The road trip started out on a positive note for the Los Angeles Clippers, but the last two games saw the offense disappear again. The Clippers will try to find the missing points and come out even on the four-game trip when they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.
Los Angeles missed 20 of its 28 3-point attempts and turned the ball over 17 times in a 90-85 loss at Miami on Saturday, but it was a phantom foul call that went against the team in the final minute that took most of the blame for the loss. “I don’t know if we would have won the game or not, but I thought we got missed calls down the stretch and I thought that hurt us,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “Having said that, I just love our spirit. There are so many reasons not to hang in there, not to play and our guys just keep doing it.” The Spurs found their spirit during a 13-0 run to end the game on Saturday that gave then a 98-96 win over the Dallas Mavericks. San Antonio continues to be cautious with stars Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard while coming off injury, but ageless wonder Manu Ginobili and star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge are keeping the team afloat.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FS Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), FS Southwest (San Antonio)
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (11-17): Injuries to Blake Griffin (knee), Austin Rivers (concussion), Danilo Gallinari (hip) and Patrick Beverley (knee) rob Los Angeles of an average of 63.7 points, and the team had trouble making up the difference while averaging 88 points in losses at Washington and Miami. Veteran shooting guard Lou Williams (19.9 points) is second on the team in scoring behind Griffin (23.6) but struggled to a combined 9-of-30 from the floor in the two setbacks. DeAndre Jordan continues to do his part and collected his fourth consecutive double-double with 12 points and 20 rebounds on Saturday.
ABOUT THE SPURS (20-10): Ginobili, 40, scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench on Saturday, with his biggest bucket coming with 3.5 seconds left and serving as the game winner. “Man, with Manu, when it’s crunch time, I think he’s going to make everything,” point guard Dejounte Murray told ESPN.com. “That’s just Manu. Manu’s gonna Manu.” Leonard sat out the win as part of the effort to maintain his health as he works his way back from quad tendinopathy, but he is expected to play on a minutes restriction Monday.
1. Rivers is expected to return for the Clippers on Monday.
2. Spurs SG Danny Green (groin) sat out Saturday’s game and is day-to-day.
3. San Antonio earned a 120-107 home win over Los Angeles in the last meeting on Nov. 7.
PREDICTION: Spurs 103, Clippers 96