Spurs extend streak with 16th straight win over Clippers

SAN ANTONIO -- George Hill was a scorer and distributor for the San Antonio Spurs, and then a player-coach briefly as well.

Hill had 14 points and a career-high 11 assists to help the Spurs beat the Los Angeles Clippers for the 16th straight time, 118-88 Saturday night.

With the Spurs up by 25 midway through the fourth quarter, coach Gregg Popovich called timeout and handed the clipboard to Hill, who had exited the game for good with 2:41 left in the third.

"Sometimes it's good to let the players do some of the coaching," Popovich said. "It makes them think a little bit and really give them confidence in what we're doing as a group.

"[Hill] didn't really draw up a play. He was showing [newcomer] Cedric Jackson about the defensive error that was made on a double-team in the post. But he does get the credit [for Roger Mason's subsequent field goal] because after that he said, 'Pop, what play do you want to run?' and I said, 'I don't know, whatever you want."

Manu Ginobili and All-Star forward Tim Duncan saw little playing time after the first quarter. Ginobili had 14 points in 19 minutes, and Duncan totaled eight -- all in the first 6:23 of the game -- in 13.

Hill had eight assists in the first quarter as the Spurs sprinted to a 32-18 lead. He surpassed his previous career-best nine assists just before halftime. He said Popovich's goal is for Hill to be more like Avery Johnson, a former Spurs point guard who went on to become an NBA coach.

"I didn't call a play," Hill said. "I tried to keep it very simple: Run angles and rolls. When you don't know something, keep it simple; don't try and do too much."

Matt Bonner scored 21 points on 8-for-9 shooting to lead the Spurs, who have the longest winning streak by one team against another. Richard Jefferson added 18 points and nine rebounds. The Spurs (39-25), winners of three straight and six of seven, moved into sixth place in the Western Conference by .003 over the idle Phoenix Suns (40-26). Fourteen of San Antonios remaining 18 games are against teams with .500-or-better records, compared to eight of 16 for Phoenix.

Baron Davis scored 18 of his team-high 22 points in the first half for the Clippers, who last defeated the Spurs in March 2006. The loss was Los Angeles' 15th straight in San Antonio, dating back to January 2002.

"Oh, man. You know, they just own us," Davis said. "They own us in discipline and their focus. They know that they'll outlast us.

"We're not coming to the gym with the right mentality and it's starting to show. We have to change that. Everybody on the Spurs scored. Everybody shared the ball. We just got to a better job. That's all I got to say. I ain't got nothing else to say. We have to do a better job of playing with some heart and passion."

Bonner summed up the Spurs' night late in the third period when he hit a baseline jumper that went over the top of the backboard from behind. By the 1:40 mark of the quarter, each of the Spurs' starters was done for the night.

"I practiced that shot a thousand times at the Concord [N.H.] YMCA," Bonner said. "It was perfect because I had to shoot it -- the shot clock was running down. Since I've been playing basketball since the second grade, I've never made that shot in a game."

DeAndre Jordan summed up the Clippers' night with an airball on a free-throw attempt with less than a minute left.

"We probably had four guys compete tonight. That's not enough," Clippers coach Kim Hughes said. "Whether they think the season is done, whether they're going for points, whatever's going on with them has to change, because we're not done. It's still a teaching process. I don't intend to let it happen that we're going to play like that. If it's going to play like that, then minutes will have to be adjusted. It's just not fair."

The Spurs rolled to a 22-point lead late in the second quarter before settling for a 65-48 lead at the break despite not attempting their first free throw until Hill's with 2:02 remaining in the half.

The Clippers closed the gap to 13 with a brief flurry to open the second half, but San Antonio regained control and carried a 90-68 lead into the final period.

San Antonio took the lead for good at 6-5 on a layup by Ginobili.

Game notes
The Spurs on Saturday signed Garrett Temple from the Rio Grande Vipers of the NBA Developmental League to a 10-day contract. Temple, who has seen NBA time this season with the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings, is the fourth former D-League player on the current Spurs roster, joining Malik Hairston, Cedric Jackson and Ian Mahinmi. ... The Spurs are 6-6 in second games of back-to-backs, but have won their past three. ... Tony Parker, who missed his fourth straight game with a fractured fourth metacarpal, was the last Spur before Hill to record 10 or more assists in a half, totaling 11 in the first half of San Antonio's 2008 regular-season finale against the Utah Jazz. ... The Clippers (25-42) clinched a losing record for the third straight season and the 16th in the past 17.

ESPN Fan Shop Powered By

  • adidas Youth L.A. Clippers Blake Griffin #32 Road Red Replica JerseyShop

  • adidas Youth San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan #21 Road Black Replica JerseyShop

NBA News