LOS ANGELES, CA-For the Los Angeles Clippers, home is the place to be. The Clippers finished off their three-game homestand against the San Antonio Spurs with consecutive wins against elite opponents. Like the two teams before them, the Spurs got rocked and left Staples Center without a victory. Thanks to five players scoring in the double-digits, the Clippers defeated the Spurs, 116-111, in front of a near sellout crowd at Staples Center.
“Just a tough group, it was really a strange game,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “After the third [quarter] I was like, either team who plays defense in the fourth quarter is going to win the game, because there was not a lot of defense being played in this game. I thought that second group had a stretch defensively, and I thought [Patrick Beverley’s] ball pressure in the middle of the fourth saved the game for us.”
During their short home stint, things kind of worked out pretty good for the Clippers. During that stretch, the Clippers managed to knock off the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime. The Clippers then had the audacity to take down reigning NBA champs Golden State Warriors (minus Steph Curry) in overtime as well before they whupped up on the Spurs.
“We have a lot of special guys on this team that do so much and bring and add to the team,” said forward Montrezl Harrell. “You can’t really say who is going to have a big night. We have guys that can fill it up quickly. I’m just blessed to be a part of this team and be able to play as hard as I can and do anything I can for this team and for us to get a win.”
The Clippers beat three potential playoff contenders not by a one-man gang, but with just about everyone contributing. Ten players from the Clippers’ bench got on the scoreboard against the Spurs. Leading the way was guard Lou Williams, who poured in nine of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter. Danilo Gallinari chipped in 19 points while Tobias Harris totaled 18 for the home team.
“We feel like we’re a good basketball team, despite what people are talking about,” Williams said. “We always thought we were a good basketball team. We’re not surprised. We’re playing up to the level that we thought we would be.”
The Clippers earned the win by shooting a tad bit better from the field (47 percent to 39 percent) and hitting the boards heavily and more frequently (50 rebounds to 45 rebounds) than the Spurs. San Antonio had several chances down the stretch in the fourth quarter to jump out in front of the Clippers, but timely baskets from Williams, Gallinari, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander helped the Clippers preserve their ninth win of the season.
Team chemistry has a lot to do with the Clippers’ early season success, Harris said.
“It’s good and it’s going to continue to get better, but we have a lot of options, a lot of guys who come in and fill their role and are able to just give us that type of energy. That scoring or defensive energy, but we have a lot of weapons and a lot of guys who know their roles and do them really well.”
The Clippers had to survive a high-point scoring night from Compton native DeMar DeRozan, who scored 34 points for San Antonio.
“We did a lot of good things. The ball just didn’t go in for us,” DeRozan said. “They made some big shots. It sucks to lose. Be back healthy, and get our rhythm going. Understanding how to play and how to win. We’ll be fine.”