PREVIEW: Los Angeles Clippers seek 2-game sweep in San Antonio

Mar 24, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket as San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) and guard Derrick White (4) defend in the third quarter at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers look to repeat Wednesday’s dominating performance when they again square off against the suddenly struggling San Antonio Spurs on Thursday in the Alamo City.

The Clippers rolled to a 134-101 win on Wednesday, getting 25 points from Kawhi Leonard and 20 from Marcus Morris Sr. Los Angeles never trailed, led by 14 points at halftime and by 18 after three quarter. Then things really got out of hand down the stretch.

Paul George added 17 points for Los Angeles, with Lou Williams hitting for 16, Ivica Zubac 14 points and Nicolas Batum 13. The Clippers have won three straight games and four out of five.

“We were disruptive,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We brought physicality to the game. Just getting into their bodies and being active.”

Williams’ 16 points gave him 15,000 for his career. According to the Clippers, Williams is the lone player since 1970-71, as far back as records were kept, to hit the 15,000-point plateau without making at least 400 starts.

“Great milestone, especially for a guy who’s come off the bench most of his career … that’s a tremendous achievement,” Lue said of Williams.

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The Clippers forced 16 San Antonio turnovers on Wednesday while committing only eight giveaways of their own.

Los Angeles, the NBA’s best 3-point shooting team, was 17 of 33 (51.5 percent) from beyond the arc in the Wednesday win. The last two times the Clippers played in San Antonio, dating back to December 2019, they scored 134 points each time.

The Clippers are 11-4 in back-to-backs this season and 7-0 in the second game, including 5-0 on the road.

DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 19 points on Wednesday.

Patty Mills scored 17, Luka Samanic had 14 and Derrick White added 13 points for San Antonio, which fell for the third straight time and has dropped the first two contests of a franchise-record, nine-game homestand.

It’s the Spurs’ longest skid since they dropped four straight from Dec. 27-Jan. 3.

Samanic, who tied a season high in points, may have been San Antonio’s lone bright spot on Wednesday. He had not played since March 15, missing the past four games, and had scored a total of 16 points in the past five games he had played.

“(Samanic) is beginning to prove himself deserving of time,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s played well (since being called up from G League). He has more confidence, he’s a good athlete, with good size. Hopefully, he’ll continue to improve.”

The Spurs are now 7-7 in back-to-backs. They head to Thursday’s contest with a 2-4 mark in the second games.

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Popovich pulled the plug early and rested his starters for the final eight minutes on Wednesday.

George knows what Los Angeles is up against in the rematch.

“It’s a Pop-coached team, so they’re gonna be prepared going into (Thursday’s) game,” George said. “We gotta match their intensity.”

San Antonio was without Rudy Gay (sore left foot) and Lonnie Walker IV (sore right wrist) on Wednesday. Both players are expected play on Thursday.

Los Angeles sat Patrick Beverley (right knee soreness) for the sixth straight game and Serge Ibaka, who has battled tightness in his lower back, for the fifth game on Wednesday. Neither will be active on Thursday.

–Field Level Media