Clippers win third game in a row, beating San Antonio Spurs, 119-115

Clippers win third game in a row, beating San Antonio Spurs, 119-115
Clippers point guard Chris Paul leaps to make a pass to teammate Spencer Hawes over Spurs point guard Tony Parker and forward Tim Duncan in the first half. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Clippers won their first game after having a week off for the NBA All-Star break, beating the San Antonio Spurs, 119-115, at Staples Center on Thursday night.

It was a hard-fought win that featured 20 lead changes and nine ties, the Clippers leading by as many as seven points and the Spurs by as many as nine.


With 32.7 seconds left and the Clippers up by one point, 112-111, Jamal Crawford made a three-pointer to give the Clippers a 115-111 lead. Marco Belinelli responded with a three-pointer with 30.6 seconds remaining to cut the Clippers' lead to one, 115-114. Then with eight seconds left, Chris Paul made a jumper to help seal the win.

The San Antonio Spurs led by nine points in the third quarter, their biggest lead of the game, before the Clippers went on a run to cut their deficit to two, 90-88, heading into the fourth quarter. Blake Griffin, wearing jeans and a black brace around his elbow, jumped onto the court at one point during the Clippers' run, standing in front of his team's bench in a crouched position cheering on his teammates.

The third quarter also included a monster dunk from DeAndre Jordan over Belinelli, which almost immediately was put on social media.

Jordan finished two rebounds shy of another 20-20 performance, scoring 26 points and grabbing 18 boards. It would have been his third 20-20 game in a row -- he had 22 points and 27 rebounds in the Clippers' 115-98 win over Dallas on Feb. 9, and 24 points and 20 rebounds in the team's 110-95 win over Houston on Feb. 11. He's had three 20-20 performances in his career, all of them this month.

The Spurs, however, made sure to capitalize on Jordan's weakness: free throws. Jordan shot 28 free throws -- more than the entire Spurs team combined (23) -- of which he made only 10.

Crawford finished with a team-high 26 points on eight for 15 shooting off the bench, including scoring seven points in the final three minutes of the game. Chris Paul added 22 points and 16 rebounds.

Glen Davis had 10 points and six rebounds off the bench, energizing the team with hustle plays and blocked shots. When he was subbed out of the game at the end of the third quarter, he received a standing ovation from many of the fans.

Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 30 points and 11 rebounds.

The win bumped the Clippers into fifth place in the Western Conference with a record of 36-19, a half-game ahead of the sixth-place Dallas Mavericks (36-20) and 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-place Spurs (34-20).

The Clippers outshot the Spurs, 54.5% to 51.2%, and outrebounded them, 43-38.

Austin Rivers did not play because of a sore left ankle. Griffin remains out after having surgery to remove a staph infection on his right elbow Feb. 9. The Clippers improved to 3-1 without Griffin.

The Clippers' next game is against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday at Staples Center at 7 p.m.