CLIPPERS

Clippers' late rally goes to waste in Game 2 loss to Spurs

Clippers erase 10-point deficit in fourth quarte only to lose to the Spurs, 111-107, in overtime

Blake Griffin leaned back as he sat on the court, covered his face with his hands and looked toward the rafters.

It was a moment of exasperation the Clippers star is not likely to forget any time soon.

Griffin lost the ball following a pair of between-the-leg dribbles with his team holding a two-point lead late in regulation Wednesday night, one of a handful of missed opportunities during a momentum-shifting 111-107 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series at Staples Center.

Griffin finished with a triple-double but would surely give away all the dunks and points for a chance to do over the play with 11.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter that helped the Spurs deadlock the series at one game apiece.

Game 3 will be Friday in San Antonio.

"That game's pretty much 100% on me," said Griffin, who finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in addition to five turnovers. "I got the ball up two, I needed to take care of it and get a good shot or get fouled and I turned it over. That's what's on my mind."

Griffin certainly wasn't the only Clippers culprit. DeAndre Jordan made six of 17 free throws and Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford combined to make two of 13 three-pointers, but Griffin's play will be the one that probably will haunt the Clippers most.

"We've got to finish," said Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who missed a 19-foot jumper with 1.9 seconds left in regulation that could have put his team ahead. "We've been talking about it all season long. We had an opportunity to win a game, go up 2-0 and we didn't take full advantage of it."

The Clippers had rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final 6 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter and had a chance to wipe out what had been a five-point shortfall in overtime when J.J. Redick spotted up for a three-pointer that could have tied the score with 13.9 seconds left.

But he missed, and the Spurs survived despite finishing the game without point guard Tony Parker, sidelined by tightness in his right Achilles' tendon, and sixth man Manu Ginobili, who fouled out.

Things had looked much sunnier for the Clippers when Paul made two free throws with the crowd chanting "MVP!" to give his team a 94-92 lead with 50.2 seconds left in regulation.

The Clippers appeared as if they might have secured the victory when Matt Barnes then stole a pass from the Spurs' Marco Belinelli, but Griffin lost the handle on the ball while dribbling and Paul was forced to foul Patty Mills on a fastbreak, his free throws forcing the overtime.

"It was a switch and we had been running that play all game," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "We got [Griffin] to the elbow and they made a good play. The guy [Boris Diaw] popped it loose and they went down and made two free throws, so give them credit."

Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant might as well have been Duncan's foils, so ageless was the Spurs' power forward on the court where he has tormented the home team for year after year.

The comparatively young legs of the Clippers were no match for Duncan as he finished with 28 points on 14-for-23 shooting and 11 rebounds before apologizing to his teammates after the game for his fourth-quarter performance.

"I was awful," Duncan said. "I missed two or three layups, I made two or three defensive mistakes and gave up dunks to DeAndre."

The Spurs were holding an 88-83 lead with 4:51 left in the fourth quarter when they started intentionally fouling Jordan. He made only four of 10 free throws in that situation, but the Clippers got enough defensive stops to shave their deficit before things went awry.

"It's tough, but we have to get past it," Paul said. "We can't go back there and play it over again. It's 1-1 and we know we have to go win a game there."

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch

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