SPURS GAMEDAY: Leonard, Parker expected back in lineup

Gameday at a glance

Los Angeles Clippers (11-17) vs. Spurs (20-10)
When, where:
Monday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center
Season series: Spurs lead 1-0
Last meeting: Spurs 120, Clippers 107, Nov. 7, AT&T Center
Clippers’ last game: Lost to Heat 90-85, Saturday, Miami
Spurs’ last game: Beat Mavericks 98-96, Saturday, AT&T Center
Clippers’ last 10 games, streak: 4-6, lost two
Spurs’ last 10 games, streak: 7-3, won one  
Notable: The Spurs have won at least 20 of their first 30 games 16 times under coach Gregg Popovich. No other NBA team has done that more than eight times during that span . . . Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) is probable for Monday night's game, but Danny Green (tightness, left groin) and Kyle Anderson (left MCL sprain) are out. 

Life without Chris Paul has not been good for the Los Angeles Clippers, who lost the All-Star point guard in a June trade with the Houston Rockets.

The Clippers dropped nine consecutive games last month and took another blow Nov. 27 when forward Blake Griffin, another perennial All-Star, went down with a sprained left knee in a victory against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers have gone 3-6 without Griffin, who is expected to be sidelined for two months.

Griffin’s injury came five days after point guard Patrick Beverley, who went to Los Angeles in the trade for Paul, was lost for the season after having knee surgery.

The core that made the Clippers one of the best teams in the Western Conference was further depleted in the offseason when starting guard J.J. Reddick and steady backup guard Jamal Crawford signed free-agent contracts with Philadelphia and Minnesota, respectively.

The Clippers, who play the Spurs on Monday night at the AT&T Center, are coming off a 90-85 road loss to Miami on Saturday. Besides Griffin, Los Angeles played without guard Danilo Gallinari (left glute contusion) and guard Austin Rivers (concussion).

Rivers is expected to play against the Spurs, but shooting guard Lou Williams is out with a right foot sprain. Williams has averaged 19.9 points and 4.9 assists this season, and has taken up the scoring slack in Griffin's absence.

While the Clippers lost their second straight, the Spurs stopped a two-game skid with a thrilling 98-96 victory against Interstate 35 rival Dallas at the AT&T Center. The Silver and Black never led until 40-year-old guard Manu Ginobili, using a screen by LaMarcus Aldridge, scored on a driving layup with 3.1 seconds left.

The Spurs trailed by 11 with 4:11 left before finishing the game on a 13-0 run that stunned the Mavericks, who are last in the Western Conference.

“We did a lot of good things, but the ending was unforgiveable,” Carlisle said.

Ginobili’s game-winning basket was his second in a span of eight days. He drained a three-pointer with five seconds left to lift San Antonio to a 105-102 victory against Boston on Dec. 8 at the AT&T Center.

The Silver and Black beat the Mavs despite playing without starters Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. Green was a late scratch because of tightness in his left groin, and Leonard and Parker sat because they’re not ready play in back-to-back games after rehabbing quad injuries for months.

Leonard and Parker are expected to return to the lineup Monday night, but Green will sit out again. Bryn Forbes will replace him at shooting guard.  

Beaten 124-109 by Houston on Friday night, the Spurs looked lethargic against the Mavs until they clamped down defensively in the fourth quarter and started making plays on the offensive end.

Backup forward Davis Bertans, who scored 13 points and nailed 2 of 4 three-pointers, pretty much summed up San Antonio’s victory.

“We did in one quarter everything that we should’ve done the whole game,” he said. “We fought very hard and luckily came out with a win. I think we deserved it.”

Dallas led 31-18 after one quarter, 53-43 at halftime and 80-71 heading into the final period.

“We had a very slow start and a very poor defensive performance,” Ginobili said. “We fought through it and that got us back into the game. It sounds easy but it’s not. We’re not getting that consistency yet, and hopefully we get it back soon because we’re not going to go that far playing only one half.”

Aldridge led the Silver and Black with 22 points and 14 rebounds, recording his 12th double-double of the season. He has been the Spurs’ top scorer in 25 of their 30 games, which ranks first in the league.

Dejounte Murray (14), Ginobili (12) and Bryn Forbes (11) rounded out San Antonio’s double-figure scoring against the Mavs.

The Clippers have been led by center DeAndre Jordan, who had 12 points and 20 rebounds in Saturday’s loss to Miami. Jordan has recorded a double-double in seven of his last eight games, including the last four in a row.

Up next for the Spurs after Monday’s game: at Portland, Wednesday, 9 p.m.  

© 2018 KENS-TV


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