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Spurs face a Game 7 on the road after losing Game 6 at home

The defending champion San Antonio Spurs were in the catbird seat after beating the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5 at Staples Center. Heading back home with a chance to eliminate the Clippers, I don’t think many people thought this series would be heading back to Los Angeles for a Game 7. I certainly didn’t.

But the Clippers once again responded in a big way, pulling out a 102-96 win to force the winner-take-all Game 7 back on their home floor. Blake Griffin led the way with 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, while Chris Paul rebounded from a horrific start to the game to finish with 19 points and 15 assists. J.J. Redick also had 19 points and DeAndre Jordan had a double-double.

Like they have all series, the Spurs got some standout performances from the bench. San Antonio wasted The Marco Belinelli Game, as Belinelli had 23 points in 22 minutes. The Italian Stallion took 12 shots, with 11 of them coming from three-point range. He made seven of those threes and hit some crazy shots down the stretch as the Spurs tried to mount a comeback.

Boris Diaw had another terrific game with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Diaw also had five assists and four rebounds. Bobo struggled much of the year, but he has stepped it up in the postseason. The Spurs’ bench totaled 48 points on the night, compared to just 15 for the Clippers’ reserves.

But on this night, it was the San Antonio starters who were disappointing. Kawhi Leonard had, by far, his worst performance of the series. Leonard scored just 12 points on 3-of-15 shooting and also had four turnovers. The guy has been so good that it felt bizarre for him to play so poorly.

Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports

Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports


The struggles weren’t limited to him. Tony Parker continues to play through injuries, and it shows. Parker shot just 4-of-12 in Game 6 and is shooting a dreadful 32.9 percent in this series. He also hasn’t made a single three-pointer in the series. A big showing by Parker in Game 7 would be a welcome sight, but who knows if he has it in him.

Danny Green continues to shoot poorly from three, as he went just 1-of-5 from long range. He’s just 2-of-16 from three in his last three games. Tiago Splitter had nine points, 10 rebounds and three assists for his best game of the series, but he shot just 3-of-8 from the free throw line. Tim Duncan was solid with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Now heading back to Los Angeles, you’d think the Clippers would have the advantage. And indeed, the Clippers are a two-point favorite after opening as a 2½-point favorite. Even so, never count out the Spurs, because it’s dumb to count out the Spurs. San Antonio could easily come out and put forth a vintage performance and win big like they did in Game 3, although I expect a highly competitive affair. It should be fun.


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