84 - 106 Final
  for this game

Balanced effort helps Spurs cruise past Clippers

Jan 9, 2009 - 4:35 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- The San Antonio Spurs found another gear in the second half and the Los Angeles Clippers simply sputtered in a 106-84 triumph on Thursday.

Tony Parker had a team-high 19 points and Roger Mason added 18 as five players reached double figures for the Spurs, which have won four straight and nine of their last 10.

Down by one, the Spurs came blazing out of halftime, scoring 10 unanswered points and taking a 53-44 lead before the Clippers could break a sweat. Eric Gordon stopped the bleeding with a layup, but the Spurs outscored Los Angeles, 32-25, in the third.

"They just started hitting shots," Gordon said. "They hit everything from everywhere."

"I thought our guys played hard and we had a really good first half," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "In the second, we gave up a lot of wide open shots and left them open for some big 3s. That got them on a roll."

Michael Finley and Matt Bonner came alive in the quarter, combining to score 20 of the team's 32 points.

San Antonio did it again in the fourth, scoring seven straight as part of a 16-5 stretch to open the quarter and close any chances the Clippers had of winning.

Gordon and Al Thornton each scored 21 for Los Angeles, which has lost nine straight. But Gordon remains optimistic.

"We just have to adjust a couple of little things and we'll be back on track," he said.

The Clippers were without guards Baron Davis and Ricky Davis, forward Zach Randolph and center Chris Kaman due to injury.

"Playing shorthanded is tough, but you have to look at it as an opportunity for young guys to get some minutes and really build their game up," Dunleavy said. "But a lot of guys are playing big minutes. But when the regulars get back, and they come in off the bench, they have that confidence behind them."

"It took us a while to get going," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. "The first half wasn't that good for us. Anytime you play a team that, on paper, is less than you, and they have three of four injured players, it's hard. It usually becomes a tougher game than expected."

The Clippers led 22-16 after the first quarter, partly a result of San Antonio shooting 26 percent.

"Early on we missed some easy shots, but our defense got better as the game went on," Mason said. "We rely on our defense, and we know eventually, we'll start hitting some shots."

The Spurs were trailing, 42-37, but rallied in the final two minutes of the first half. It started when Ginobili came up with a steal, raced downcourt, wrapped the ball around his back and split two defenders for a layup.

It seemed to energize the team, as Parker hit a 17-footer on the next trip down, cutting the lead to 42-41. Ime Udoka then attempted a 3-pointer from the corner that was wide right, but

Duncan tipped it in to give the Spurs their first lead since 10-8.

But the Clippers quickly countered with a layup for a 44-43 halftime edge.