San Antonio Spurs miss opportunity to put pressure on Clippers

San Antonio Spurs miss opportunity to put pressure on Clippers
San Antonio Spurs teammates (from left) Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green talk during the second half of Sunday's loss to the Clippers in Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. (Darren Abate / Associated Press)

To be sure, the San Antonio Spurs squandered an opportunity to push the Clippers to the playoff ledge.

Instead, the best-of-seven series is now tied 2-2, both teams knowing that the winner of Game 5 Tuesday night at Staples Center will leave one of them on the brink of elimination.

“The whole point is to get to four,” said Spurs forward Tim Duncan, referring to how many games it will take to win the series. “So however that goes. You get three, you have a better chance, obviously. [But] it’s not over until you get that fourth game.

"The closeout game is going to be tough no matter which way it goes. But the one in front of us right now is this fifth game. It's on the road. It's on their home court. That's good for them, obviously. But we've won there before."

Before the start of Game 4 Sunday, the Spurs appeared to be in control of the series. They had won two straight games, had taken away the home-court advantage from the Clippers with a stirring overtime victory in Game 2 in Los Angeles last week and had the next two games in AT&T Center, where the Spurs were 33-8.

The Spurs won Game 3 with ease, riding the wave of Kawhi Leonard’s brilliant play.

But they failed to capitalized on the momentum they built over the previous two games, making uncharacteristic mistakes the defending NBA champions aren’t known for and continuing to play poorly.

"As I said, we've got things we can clean up real easily," Duncan said. "So we have to do that and get ready for their best shot."