Everything that was missing for the team in blue and red in Friday's night 100-73 bloodletting at the hands of the
The missing elements found in this game included fight, intensity, even desperation.
One thing was clear. A Spurs victory would certainly seal the deal at 3-1 in this best-of-seven series. Another thing was even more clear, after these four games, and Clippers Coach
"There is no momentum in this series," he said. "It is just two teams, fighting."
Reports of the Clippers demise, widely circulated after Friday night's game, turned out to be premature. The "relentless" team owned by Steve Balmer was just that. Hardcore, too.
Asked about his view of his team's toughness now, after its escape from the graveyard, Rivers said, "I already believed in it. A one-point loss or a 30-point loss is just a loss.
"You take a look at things and you agree that you didn't play well, and you just say, 'OK guys, lace them up again.' "
And so the Clippers did.
Now, the pendulum of this
The score Sunday was 114-105, and the victory was sealed, fittingly, with DeAndre Jordan's slam dunk for a 110-100 lead with 1 minute 11 seconds left. That was kind of an in-your-face answer to the beating San Antonio handed the Clippers two days before.
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio's legendary coach, said he was most disappointed in his team's failure to shut down shooting guard
"No matter who we had on him," Popovich said, "he got the best of them. Neither
The Spurs also failed to stop
Right from the start, it was different than Friday night.
This time, the Clippers pushed back. No eye-rolling at incredible Spurs plays. No shrugs and chins on chests.
This time, the Spurs knew that, to get this series to 3-1, they'd need to endure some lumps. Only a few minutes into the game,
There was so much negotiating with the officials that it resembled a United Nations session, only with more swear words.
To the Clippers' credit, they were unyielding, no matter what was going on. To the Clippers' detriment, at least in the first three periods, the Spurs were more than willing and more than physically able to push right back. If there is this much physical action in Saturday's Floyd Mayweather-
Redick talked Saturday about the need to play with desperation. Not feel it or succumb to it. Play with it as an action starter.
"You never want to go down, 3-1," he said. "We know we can beat them. Now we just have to do it."
The Clippers led at the half, 51-47, and there had been no trends established, other than both teams had decided that this was going to be
There were no significant runs in the first three periods. That's not NBA playoffs.
Paul made six consecutive free throws in one span and
That set the stage for that ever-present NBA jewel — the fourth quarter. The fans were on their feet, the noise was ear-splitting, and they were off, the Clippers in desperation and the Spurs in search continuing toward consecutive title destiny.
But this time, the happier yells certainly were taking place two time zones to the West, as Clippers fans, many fearing a result that would have ended their hopes and their season, watched on TV.