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Mister Robinson Indeed! : Pro basketball: Spurs center “embarrasses” Clippers with 71 points en route to scoring title in 112-97 rout.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Clippers, the NBA’s worst defensive team, gift wrapped the NBA scoring title for All-Star center David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs.

Robinson piled up 71 points, 47 in the second half, in Sunday’s 112-97 season-ending win over the Clippers at the Sports Arena to edge Orlando Magic center Shaquille O’Neal for the NBA scoring title.

“I looked up at the scoreboard and I said, ’71 points. Oh, my goodness!”’ Robinson said.

Robinson finished with 2,383 points in 80 games, an average of 29.788 points, to win the NBA’s closest scoring race since 1978, when George Gervin of the Spurs scored 63 points in the final game to edge David Thompson, who had scored 73 points in an afternoon game. Gervin finished with 27.22 points to Thompson’s 27.15.

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O’Neal, who had 2,345 points going into Sunday’s night’s season finale against the New Jersey Nets, needed 68 points to win the scoring title, but he got 32 points and finished with 2,377 points in 81 games, an average of 29.346 points.

Did Robinson covet the scoring title?

“Not until today did it really become something that was very important,” Robinson said. “I’ve always tried to focus this year on winning games, but today coming in here everybody talked about, ‘hey look, we’ve got a couple guys out (Dale Ellis and Willie Anderson), you just go ahead and shoot.’ So it was nice.

“I don’t worry about scoring titles or MVP, that stuff will wear you out if you think about it every night.”

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Clipper All-Star forward Dominique Wilkins, who had 16 points in what could have been his last game with the team, said the Clippers (27-55) should be embarrassed.

“Disappointing is an understatement for this season,” Wilkins said. “There’s no pride here. If you can look at yourself in the mirror after a game like that and be happy with yourself, something’s wrong. Nothing against David, he’s a great player, but how can you let a guy get 71 points?

“I think it’s ridiculous. We helped him get 71 points. If they want to play him the whole game that’s fine, but the way we played him, it’s like we helped him.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my career, let me tell you the truth, never.

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“That game probably got him MVP.”

It was the most points scored in an NBA game this season and the most since Thompson scored 73 points against Detroit on April 9, 1978. Only four players have scored 70 or more points in a game--Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 72 or more points five times, Thompson, Clipper General Manager Elgin Baylor, who had 71 points against New York on Nov. 15, 1960, and Robinson.

“I think he could have had 80 points tonight,” said Spurs forward Dennis Rodman. “He missed a few free throws and a couple easy baskets. They don’t think David deserves the MVP because of our record (55-27), but that’s . . . . “

Before a sellout crowd of 16,005 that included Madonna, who walked off the court with her arm around Spurs Coach John Lucas and prayed with the Spurs in the locker room after the game, Robinson made 26 of 41 shots, including a three-pointer, to eclipse his career high of 52 points. Robinson, who broke Gervin’s franchise record of 63 points, made 18 of 25 free throws and grabbed 14 rebounds.

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Robinson, who scored 18 of the Spurs’ 20 first-quarter points, had six points in the second quarter, 19 in the third and 28 in the final quarter. Robinson, who got a standing ovation with 1:49 left, spent the last few minutes of the game cherry picking under the Spurs’ basket to pad his point total. The Spurs also intentionally fouled the Clippers late to gain possession so Robinson could score.

Lucas, who played Robinson 44 minutes, said he was trying to get Robinson the scoring title.

“Those were a legit 71 points,” Lucas said. “He played 44 minutes when he should have played 48.”

Were the Clippers angry that the Spurs left Robinson in the game?

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“That doesn’t really matter,” Wilkins said. “It’s up to us as players to have some pride and say, ‘hey, I don’t care how long you stay in the game you’re not going to make me look like a fool.”’

Clipper Notes

Guard Mark Jackson, who has three years left on his contract, indicated he wants to be traded. “If you are not committed to winning, I don’t want to be here. And I think tonight shows no commitment toward winning.”. . . . Clipper General Manager Elgin Baylor, deflecting speculation on whether the Clippers will buy out the remaining two years of Coach Bob Weiss’s contract, said he’ll meet with Weiss and the coaching staff next week for an evaluation of the season. . . . Clipper guard Ron Harper on the season: “I’m just glad its over. . . . Will I be back? I’ll see you somewhere down the road.”. . . . Weiss on the season: “It was a horrible season for all of us, the worst that anyone in the locker room could has ever seen, except for the CBA guys. . . . Dominique Wilkins said he was too upset to discuss whether he’ll return. “The way I feel right now I’d rather not even answer that question right now,” he said.

NBA’s Top 10 Single-Game Scorers

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100 Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia) March 2, 1962 vs. New York 78 Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia) Dec. 8, 1961 vs. Lakers 73 Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia) Jan. 13, 1962 vs. Chicago 73 Wilt Chamberlain (San Francisco) Nov. 16, 1962 vs. New York 73 David Thompson (Denver) April 9, 1978 vs. Detroit 72 Wilt Chamberlain (San Francisco) Nov. 3, 1962 vs. Lakers 71 Elgin Baylor (Lakers) Nov. 15, 1960 vs. New York 71 David Robinson (San Antonio) April 24, 1994 vs. Clippers 70 Wilt Chamberlain (San Francisco) March 10, 1963 vs. Syracuse


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