Coming up in the clutch against the San Antonio Spurs never seems to be a problem for Chris Paul. The point guard had 28 points and 12 assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers led the entire way to beat San Antonio 105-86 on Thursday night, snapping the Spurs’ six-game winning streak coming out of the All-Star break.
Jamal Crawford had 19 points and J.J. Redick added 17 points, but the Clippers’ 50 percent shooting masked what was an offensive struggle the majority of the night. The Clippers committed 20 turnovers in the game and had 14 by halftime, yet they still led 42-34 entering the second half.
Tony Parker had 14 points to lead San Antonio, which looked out of sorts without All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard (calf tightness). The Spurs (45-9) went an uncharacteristic 4-17 from beyond the arc, and never found their offensive groove.
About two hours before tip-off, Paul returned from Oklahoma City where he attended the funeral of Ingrid Williams, wife of Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams, whom he knows from his days playing in New Orleans. She was killed in a car accident at age 44.
“It really put a lot of stuff in perspective,” Paul said. “At the end of the day, it is just basketball.” Clippers coach Doc Rivers and his son Austin, along with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan and David West also attended the funeral.
To many, it was a highly anticipated game between two of the West’s top teams, but it’s clear many of the individuals involved had bigger things on their mind Thursday night.