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Old 05-21-12, 02:21 AM
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UsaToday: Finished: Spurs edge Clippers to finish sweep

Finished: Spurs edge Clippers to finish sweep | Reno Gazette-Journal | rgj.com
Finished: Spurs edge Clippers to finish sweep

Questions hounded the Los Angeles Clippers as they entered perhaps their final game of an uncharacteristically successful season.

Could the Clippers get that nightmare collapse against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 — a 24-point lead, poof, gone —out of their system and psyche?

Could Chris Paul and Blake Griffin play through injury and deliver the big efforts the Clippers needed from them to avoid a series sweep?

Could someone besides Paul and Griffin step up and make it a Big Three?

The answers: Yes, yes and yes.

And it still wasn't enough, which says a lot about how unflappable — and good — the Spurs are.

A Paul turnover and a Paul miss in the lane doomed the Clippers' last two possessions, and the Spurs won 102-99 to complete the four-game sweep of the Western Conference semifinal series.

Tim Duncan scored 21 points and Tony Parker added 17 to lead San Antonio, which now awaits the winner of the Oklahoma City-Los Angeles Lakers series.

San Antonio has won all eight games in the playoffs and 29 of 31 overall.

"Just perseverance, man. We just stuck with it," Duncan said. "They played a really great game throughout. And they made some shots, made some plays, but we stuck with it. We kept moving the ball and kept believing in what we were doing."

Late in the third quarter, with the Spurs seeming to relentlessly impose their will on another playoff game, Paul (23 points, 11 assists) suddenly started to play like the dynamic CP3 who orchestrated this team to a turnaround regular season and a first-round playoff victory.

"We played hard. But we made our mistakes at some key moments," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "And that was the difference."

Two signature moves — a foray into the lane ending in a mid-range jumper, then a baseline drive ending in a double-pump runner — energized the crowd and Paul's teammates and propelled the Clippers to a 75-74 lead entering the fourth quarter.

It looked early in the game that whatever the Clippers were going to do, they were again going to have to do it with a subpar Paul, who again looked a step slow.

The Clippers' All-Star point guard wasn't himself in this series, hampered by a strained hip flexor. Not being 100% and having to go head-to-head against Parker was a special kind of NBA nightmare.

Griffin (21 points) also wasn't 100%, dealing with a sprained knee suffered late in the Memphis Grizzlies series. But he looked pretty good in a 20-point first half Saturday, before the second-half collapse, and he looked good early in the second half Sunday.

Two emphatic Griffin dunks helped the Clippers to a 15-8 run to start the third quarter and a 62-59 lead.

And a third option emerged just when it was needed most, as reserve guard Eric Bledsoe took over early in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 consecutive Clipper points to give L.A. a 90-85 lead with 5:37 to play.

But the Spurs showed why they have won 18 in a row down the stretch.

"Great to have a close game like this," Duncan said. "It's good for us. Good experience for us. Good experience for these young guys."
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With 26 points on 4 of 4 shots from distance in only 20 minutes of PT. Efficient eviceration.
Wolves' fan: ginobili vs. the wolves is like he's just kind of laughing to himself all game...kind of like he thinks it's cute that they're trying to play basketball.
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Old 05-21-12, 06:02 PM
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I'm impressed by the Clips' effort. Thought they'd phone in Game 4 after the embarrassment of Game 3. Man, they played hard.
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Old 05-21-12, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mckennaspur1 View Post
I'm impressed by the Clips' effort. Thought they'd phone in Game 4 after the embarrassment of Game 3. Man, they played hard.
Ain't that the truth?
I expected to be in bed by the half, only wondering what the final margin would be.

5:00 am was damn early today. Even not waiting for the fishin' pictures.

Clips did what they could, but just lost to the better team.
Hopefully the best team of '11-'12 as history remember it.
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Old 05-21-12, 07:09 PM
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It seemed like the Spurs already prepared to take the loss and go home, but they couldn't even do that with a C+ effort. What is concerning is Manu's play. He started passing up shots. He had his usual stupid turnovers and defensive gambling mishaps, but now he seems to have lost confidence in his shot.
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Old 05-21-12, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Uwe Blab View Post
It seemed like the Spurs already prepared to take the loss and go home, but they couldn't even do that with a C+ effort. What is concerning is Manu's play. He started passing up shots. He had his usual stupid turnovers and defensive gambling mishaps, but now he seems to have lost confidence in his shot.
You saw that, too?

I'm good with passing to the hot guy, but to pass for no reason...
Announcers danced around the issue, in that he passed to the guy who made the shot (Neal? Green?). Manu needs to start making shots. I wonder if there isn't some injury that hasn't been divulged.

Regardless, if the Spurs don't win the title, then it can all be blamed on Manu (kidding!!!)
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Old 05-21-12, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by katyspursfan View Post
You saw that, too?

I'm good with passing to the hot guy, but to pass for no reason...
Announcers danced around the issue, in that he passed to the guy who made the shot (Neal? Green?). Manu needs to start making shots. I wonder if there isn't some injury that hasn't been divulged.

Regardless, if the Spurs don't win the title, then it can all be blamed on Manu (kidding!!!)
Manu hurt his hand in game two or three then yesterday I saw him hold the same hand yesterday for a brief period.
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Old 05-22-12, 06:41 PM
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Manu hurt his hand in game two or three then yesterday I saw him hold the same hand yesterday for a brief period.
I hope that's the truth.
Manu's not been shooting well, and passing it up when he shouldn't. I can live with injury. If it's a sprain, another week should fix that. If it's more, then it's more troublesome.
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