The whiteboard inside the
There figured to be plenty of poking at fancy food after the wholly unappetizing display the Clippers staged in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series at the
The Clippers were awful on defense and even more atrocious on offense throughout a 100-73 loss to the
The league's most efficient offense during the regular season scored 16 points in the first quarter and things somehow got worse. The Clippers managed 11 points in the third quarter, single-handedly topped by
"We missed a few shots early, a few calls didn't go our way and I saw a collective head drop," Clippers forward Matt Barnes said after his team lost a second consecutive game in a series it now trails, two games to one. "We can't have that."
The fans serenaded Leonard with "MVP!" chants as he stepped to the free-throw line early in the fourth quarter to complete a night in which he set a career playoff high with 32 points.
"Luckily," Clippers point guard
Paul had trouble navigating the defense of
This loss went far beyond the Clippers shooting 34.1% to the Spurs' 52.6%. The Clippers compounded their shooting difficulties with head-shaking plays such as center
"Tonight we were a step behind everything on both ends of the floor," said Jordan, who had 10 points to go with eight rebounds.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 14 points but needed 15 shots to get there, making only six. Austin Rivers added 11 points off the bench.
Paul and Griffin had combined for more turnovers (five) than points (four) before Paul made a three-pointer midway through the second quarter. Griffin appeared exhausted by then, his jersey soaked in sweat as he doubled over panting during a break in the game.
"We're a high-scoring team and a ball-movement team and I thought for the most part, one through 12, the ball stuck tonight for us," Doc Rivers said. "And some of that was we got down early and I thought our guys were all trying to win the game for us, which never works."
It seemed like a minor miracle the Clippers trailed only 46-38 at halftime considering their bench players had combined to make one of 13 shots.
Leonard showed he could also play some on the other end of the court by making his first four shots. He scored 29 of the Spurs' first 61 points and wowed the crowd late in the second quarter when he snatched a Green lob that appeared destined for the third row of seats and slammed it into the basket with one hand.
"He's not a one-trick pony kind of guy," Spurs Coach
About the only Clipper who seemed in top form was Rivers, who repeatedly engaged a fan seated directly behind two rows of media.
Told he was going to receive a technical foul for being too animated early in the second quarter, Rivers turned toward the fan and shot back, "Wait until the fourth quarter. It's too early."
It would soon be too late for his team, its ragged play dooming it to a deficit in a series that has shifted squarely in the Spurs' favor.