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    Spurs depth on display in win vs. Clippers

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2016

    Los Angeles Clippers center Cole Aldrich (45) shoots the ball over San Antonio Spurs center Boban Marjanovic (40) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    Los Angeles Clippers center Cole Aldrich (45) shoots the ball over San Antonio Spurs center Boban Marjanovic (40) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    (The Sports Xchange) – The understood goal of any second unit in the NBA is to do all it can to hold its ground while its team’s starters get time to rest. So when the reserves add to a lead or flip the flow of the game from one team to another, it’s an unexpected bonus.

    San Antonio’s bench and defense were all the difference Tuesday as the Spurs’ reserves helped turn a close game into a rout in the fourth quarter and walloped the Los Angeles Clippers 108-87 Tuesday night.

    Kawhi Leonard poured in 20 points to lead five San Antonio players in double figures. But the Spurs (57-10) led by just a point heading to the final quarter before running away from Los Angeles in the first four minutes of the period and never looking back.

    Reserve David West had all eight of his points in that fourth-quarter run, and reserve Patty Mills had seven in that stretch. The Spurs eventually expanded their lead to 99-79 and wound up winning by 21.

    “They turned up the intensity and the pressure a little bit and put a 37-point fourth quarter on us,” the Clippers’ Chris Paul said. “There are a lot of things that happened over the course of the game for that separation to happen.”

    The victory was San Antonio’s 33rd straight at home to open the season and extended the club’s home-game regular-season win streak to a franchise-best 42 games, dating back to a loss to Cleveland last March. The Spurs’ home streak the third-longest in NBA history, behind Chicago’s 44-game regular-season run in 1995-96 and the continuing streak by Golden State (49 games).

    LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 points for the Spurs, while Mills had 15. Manu Ginobili hit for 13 points, and Danny Green scored 12 on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.

    “Our guys competed and we got a big-time spark off the bench,” Aldridge said. “David (West) was huge and Patty (Mills) brought a lot of juice and energy for us. They definitely carried us down the stretch.”

    Chris Paul led the Clippers with 22 points and eight assists. DeAndre Jordan added 16 points and 14 rebounds for Los Angeles, and Jeff Green and J.J. Redick scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.

    The San Antonio bench outscored the Clippers 51-20. The Spurs outrebounded Los Angeles 42-27 and had 25 assists to the Clippers’ 15.

    “It was one of those nights when out second unity just didn’t have a lot,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “In the first half (our second unit) got great shots and missed them all — I think they had three points in the first half. The same thing happened in the second half and then I thought they lost their spirit.”

    The Clippers (42-24) took things right to San Antonio in the opening minutes, starting the game with an alley-oop pass from Paul for a dunk by Jordan and building 10-6 lead. The Spurs grabbed the momentum and the lead on an Aldridge left-handed hook and boosted their advantage to 18-15 on two free throws by reserve Kevin Martin.

    However, the Clippers finished the period with a flurry, as two baskets by Paul and two free throws from Jamal Crawford granted Los Angeles a 21-19 lead at the end of the quarter.

    San Antonio’s bench provided a huge boost at the start of the second quarter, fashioning a 13-1 run that handed the Spurs a 31-22 lead. That margin grew to as many as 12 points, at 45-33 on a turnaround jumper by Aldridge, before the Clippers started chipping away, outscoring San Antonio 11-3 in the final minute to get back to within 48-44 at halftime.

    Paul led all scorers with 18 points at the half, while the Spurs got 14 from Leonard and 13 from Aldridge in the first 24 minutes of play.

    The intensity was increased in the third quarter, and the teams played a nearly even period. Green’s 3-pointer from the right wing brought the Clippers even, and Crawford’s pullup jumper with 14.7 seconds to play gave Los Angeles its first lead since the first quarter.

    San Antonio snatched back the advantage on a running baseline jumper from reserve Kyle Anderson that went through the net with no time on the clock, and the Spurs led 71-70 heading into the final period.

    The Spurs opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run that was keyed by three inside baskets by West and a ringing 3-pointer by Ginobili. San Antonio ended up making 15 of its 21 shots in the final period while Los Angeles made just six of 16.

    “We adjusted well and we played a way better second half — everyone could see that,” Ginobili said. “We were more energetic and aggressive and more focused. The bench players try to make a push every time, and last year the Clippers’ second unit created a lot of trouble for us. Today we were more successful.”

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    Clippers agree to trade PG Paul to Rockets: reports

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, June 29th, 2017

    FILE PHOTO: Clippers’ Chris Paul (#3). REUTERS

    (The Sports Xchange) – The Los Angeles Clippers reached an agreement on a blockbuster trade to send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

    Paul, 32, agreed to opt in to the final year of his $24.2 million contract, clearing the way for the Clippers to execute a sign-and-trade deal with the Rockets and bring back assets for the star player, league sources told The Vertical.

    The Rockets will send forward Sam Dekker and guards Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams, plus a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick to the Clippers in exchange for Paul, sources told ESPN.

    Paul had until Wednesday to opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. The Clippers risked losing Paul for nothing in free agency.

    Paul could have signed a new deal with the Clippers that started at $34 million a year had he opted out of his contract. He will now be eligible to sign a five-year, $205 million maximum extension with the Rockets since he is being acquired in a trade.

    Paul wanted to play alongside Rockets All-Star guard James Harden, according to The Vertical. Paul and Harden reportedly discussed the possibility of a partnership at length and believe they can find a way to thrive together.

    Paul, who was acquired by the Clippers in a 2011 trade with New Orleans, is a nine-time All-Star, nine-time All-NBA player and a nine-time All-Defensive team member. He played six seasons with Los Angeles after six seasons in New Orleans.

    For his career, Paul owns averages of 18.7 points, 9.9 assists and 2.3 steals in 834 NBA games.

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    Playoffs exit could spell retirement for Spurs great Ginobili

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

    May 22, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) leaves the court after game four of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili walked off the AT&T Center court for perhaps the final time in his brilliant career on Monday, showered with cheers from the home crowd and respect from both teams.

    With Golden State completing an inevitable 4-0 series sweep over the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, the contest became an ode to Argentinian great Ginobili who may announce his retirement this off-season after 15 years in the NBA.

    With the end a possibility for the 39-year-old Ginobili, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich put his veteran in the starting lineup for the first time this campaign.

    Ginobili responded with 15 points, seven assists and some vintage moments as the crowd chanted “Manu, Manu” throughout the night.

    “I started him tonight out of respect. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to honor him in front of our fans,” Popovich told reporters after the Spurs lost 129-115 to the Warriors, who applauded Ginobili as he left the court in the fourth quarter.

    “He deserves to have that night of respect to feel we appreciate everything he has done over the years.”

    Drafted by San Antonio in 1999, Ginobili did not break into the league until the 2002-03 campaign, but quickly made an impact with his left-handed play-making wizardry.

    A four-time NBA champion who willingly accepted a sixth man role with the Spurs despite his talent and profile, Ginobili has yet to decide if he will return or fade off into retirement.

    “I always said I wanted to let it sink in for three weeks, whatever. Sit with my wife and see how it feels,” Ginobili said. “I have to choose between two wonderful options.

    “One is to keep playing in this league at this age enjoying playing a sport I still love. The other one is to stay at home and be a dad, enjoy my whole family and spend time with them. Whatever I decide to do, I’ll be a happy camper.”

    (Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O’Brien)

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    Curry leads Warriors to third straight series sweep

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

    May 22, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) drives to the basket past San Antonio Spurs small forward Davis Bertans (42) and Dewayne Dedmon (3) during the second half in game four of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    (The Sports Xchange) – Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Kevin Durant added 29 points and 12 rebounds as the Golden State Warriors strolled to a 129-115 win over San Antonio Spurs on Monday to complete a four-game sweep of the Western Conference finals.

    Golden State moves on to play either the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, in a repeat of last year’s title series, or the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers currently lead the Eastern Conference finals 2-1.

    Golden State will have nine days of rest ahead of that series, which begins in Oakland, California on June 1.

    The Warriors have swept all three of their playoff series and are the first team in NBA history to start the post-season 12-0, eclipsing the record established by the 1989 and 2001 Los Angeles Lakers.

    “It’s a great run, and we had an opportunity to get it done tonight, but more importantly, it was obviously just a closeout kind of mentality and trying to take care of our business and play a good 48-minute game,” Curry said.

    “For the most part, we did. We had some slip-ups and some mental errors, but for the most part it was a solid night. Contributions from everybody.

    “Going 12-0 is great, but it doesn’t mean anything going into the next series, and we have to understand that.”

    Golden State has won 27 of its past 28 overall games (including the regular season) and has won six straight road playoff games, a franchise record.

    Draymond Green added 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Golden State in the easy win at the AT&T Center. Ian Clark tallied 12 points and Klay Thompson scored 10 points (on 3-of-13 shooting) for the Warriors.

    GINOBILI FAREWELL?

    Golden State out-shot the Spurs 55.8 percent to 42.3 percent, had 53 rebounds to San Antonio’s 41 and dominated despite 17 turnovers that led to 22 San Antonio points.

    Kyle Anderson led the Spurs with 20 points while Manu Ginobili added 15 in what may have been the last game of a brilliant NBA career. Patty Mills and Pau Gasol added 14 each and Jonathon Simmons scored 13.

    LaMarcus Aldridge, arguably San Antonio’s most important player after injured star forward Kawhi Leonard, scored just eight points and did not play in the fourth quarter.

    Despite the fact that the Warriors have cruised to their spot in the Finals, they are adamant that they can play better.

    “There are things on both sides of the ball that we can clean up, and that’s what’s, I guess, got our guys’ attention or focus,” Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown said.

    “We’ve been preaching certain things, and for the most part, they’ve been doing it, but to get to our ultimate goal of winning the whole thing, we’ve got to be better on both ends of the floor.”

    Ginobili left the game in the final minutes to chants of “Manu, Manu” and “one more year.” He has said he will take three or four weeks off before deciding whether he wants to return to the league next season, when he will be 40 years old.

    “The opponent was, in this case, way better than us,” Ginobili said of the Warriors’ domination of the series.

    “When you lose by an average of 20 points per game in the last three games, you look at them in the eyes and say, ‘Congratulations, man, you beat us fair and square. You were better than us.’ It’s the easiest thing to do.”

    (Editing by John O’Brien)

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