When the Los Angeles Clippers called timeout with just over seven minutes left on Monday night, it looked like their lead could be slipping away. The San Antonio Spurs were on a 10-2 run, down just four. The Clippers had been ahead since a dominant second quarter where they'd scored 19 unanswered points, but the Spurs had been in this situation about a million times before. They're able to hang in games, then steal them.
Los Angeles head coach Doc Rivers put Chris Paul and Blake Griffin back in to steady the ship, and that was that. It was a 10-point game about two minutes later and a 17-point game two minutes after that. The Clippers went on a 20-4 run, with San Antonio coughing the ball up and Paul pushing the pace, finding shooters. The Clippers earned a 115-92 win, their largest over the Spurs in franchise history and their second-most lopsided victory of the season. Even taking into account Tony Parker leaving the game in the third quarter due to a shin contusion, it was perhaps the most impressive Clippers win since Rivers' arrival.
Paul finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Griffin had 27, nine and two. They combined to shoot 16-for-27 from the field, and the Spurs had no answer for them. Paul controlled the game as he usually does, picking his spots to look for his own shot, and Griffin scored in just about every way imaginable: jump shots, drives to the rim, hooks out of the post and, yes, dunks.
Entering the game, Los Angeles was 4-4 since J.J. Redick fractured his hand, largely because their offense had fallen off. In Redick's absence, it's on Paul and Griffin to do more, and against San Antonio they did just about everything and did so efficiently. The Clippers still have things to work on and we won't know exactly who they are until later in the season, once they have Redick and Matt Barnes back in the lineup, but wins like this are certainly encouraging. They're the kind of nights that make you think they could be a contender.