Kurt Helin

Austin Rivers gets rejected. By the rim. (VIDEO)

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This was a fantastic pass from DeAndre Jordan that went to waste.

It was a simple little give-and-go with Jordan that had Austin Rivers flying down the lane by himself with the chance to make an emphatic statement with a dunk. Except for that pesky rim. Ouch.

The Spurs pulled away in the fourth quarter for a comfortable 108-87 win, keeping San Antonio a perfect 33-0 at home this season.

Five takeaways from NBA Tuesday: Spurs thrash Clippers, now 33-0 at home

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What you missed while thinking, “They needed to do a study for that? They should have just given me the money and I would have told them, it’s obvious.”

1) San Antonio turns it up in the fourth quarter, pull away for a comfortable win against Clippers to go 33-0 at home. Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: The Spurs played fairly well but let their opponent hang around for three quarters, then when it entered the final frame they stepped up their defensive pressure, took their execution to another level, hit their shots, and pulled away for a comfortable win.

Tuesday’s victim was the Los Angeles Clippers, who were down just one entering the fourth quarter. The Spurs opened the fourth with an 11-2 run, soon enough started another 15-2 run, and it was all over for the Clippers except the bus ride past the horse stalls behind the AT&T Center. Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and LaMarcus Aldridge 17, but it was the Spurs bench dramatically outplaying the still-struggling Clippers bench that was the story. Next up for San Antonio are two home games — Portland and Golden State. The Clippers story remains the same: They need to get Blake Griffin back to challenge elite teams.

2) Tim Duncan passes John Havlicek for 14th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Just a few days ago, Celtics legend John Havlicek was 13th on the All-Time scoring list. Then LeBron James passed him. Wednesday it was Tim Duncan’s turn — the Spurs legend is now 14th all-time in scoring, while Havlicek is 15th.

3) Nobody can stop Bojan Bogdanovic. For a night, anyway. Bogdanovic has quietly had an okay season for the Nets, averaging 10.5 points a game but not being terribly efficient (43.8 percent shooting). But for a night, the Sixers had no answers — Bogdanovic was getting to the rim (9-of-12 there), he was hitting threes (4-of-9), and it seems every shot he took was going in on his way to 44 points on 27 shots.

4) Celtics now 0-2 with Jae Crowder out, fall to Indiana. Going up against Paul George — who had a fantastic third quarter and finished the night with 25 points and seven assists — Boston really missed Jae Crowder. Of course, Boston hurt their own cause shooting 38.3 percent overall and 25% from three, plus they had a few ugly turnovers. That’s two losses in a row for Boston, who is still the three seed but is now tied with Miami for that spot, with the Hawks just one game back. Boston is about to slide down the board.

By the way, Monta Ellis can still do Monta Ellis things.

5) Austin Rivers gets shut down by the rim. This was a fantastic pass from DeAndre Jordan that went to waste.

Kawhi Leonard leads Spurs to 108-87 win over Clippers

Associated Press
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and the San Antonio Spurs wore down the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers 108-87 on Tuesday night to match the second-longest home winning streak to open a season in NBA history.

San Antonio won its 33rd straight home game this season, tying Orlando’s start to the 1995-1996 season.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and reserve guards Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili added 15 and 13, respectively, for the Spurs (57-10).

Los Angeles (42-24), still playing without Blake Griffin, lost its second straight.

The Clippers’ reserves, who were without injured Paul Pierce, were outscored 51-20 by the Spurs’ bench.

San Antonio backup David West tipped in missed shots on successive possessions and then delivered a hard screen on Austin Rivers that freed Mills for a jumper from the top of the key for an 82-72 lead with 9 minutes remaining. West finished with eight points.

Data curated by PointAfter

San Antonio needed that production to counter Chris Paul, who continued to confound and frustrate the Spurs on both ends.

Paul had 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting and dished out eight assists.

He opened the game by lobbing a pass to DeAndre Jordan for a dunk and scored 10 points in the opening quarter.

Jordan had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Jeff Green scored 15.

Paul later drew two successive fouls against Mills in the first quarter, rising up and under when the Australian native placed his left arm near the right shoulder of the Clippers’ savvy veteran.

The Spurs went on a 13-3 run when Paul exited with 1:21 left in the first quarter. Mills and Danny Green each had a 3-pointer during the spurt that turned a one-point deficit into a 31-22 advantage.

Danny Green was 4 for 5 on 3s in scoring 12 points.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Pierce missed his third straight game with a sore right big toe. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he was unsure if the veteran forward will be available to play Wednesday in Houston. . Paul was averaging 19.1 points and 8.7 assists in his career against San Antonio. Paul, Magic Johnson (19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds) and Isiah Thomas (18.2, 8.1 assists) are the only players to average 18 points and eight assists against the Spurs since 1985-86. . The Clippers entered having won three of four regular-season games against the Spurs in addition to defeating them in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

Spurs: Tim Duncan had nine points, raising his career total to 26,399 to surpass John Havlicek for 14th in NBA history. Havlicek finished his Hall of Fame career with 26,395 points, all with the Boston Celtics. . San Antonio has trailed for only 9 minutes, 37 seconds, of the 384 minutes it has played in the fourth quarter at home this season. . The Spurs have won 42 games this season by double digits, a franchise record.

 

Clippers sign Jeff Ayres as bench big for rest of season

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When Blake Griffin first was going to be out for a while following his hand surgery, the Clippers went out and got Jeff Ayres on a 10-day contract to provide some depth up front. He played a total of 14 minutes in five games, hit a couple of shots but really wasn’t memorable.

Turns out he was memorable to Doc Rivers — Ayres is back with the Clippers for the rest of the season. Via Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Ayres had been with the D-Fenders of the D-League, the Lakers affiliate based in Los Angeles.

The Clippers still do not have Griffin back and are heading out on a five-game road trip that includes games against San Antonio, Houston, and Golden State. The Clippers could still use that depth, so enter Ayres.

Besides, unlike many of his new teammates, Ayres has a championship ring — he was a member of the 2014 Spurs title team.

Kobe Bryant apparently out Tuesday vs. Kings, Metta World Peace to start

Associated Press
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Kobe Bryant has missed more home games than road games during his farewell tour, something that has frustrated many Lakers fans who are paying increasingly large sums to see their hero one more time.

It looks like that will happen again Tuesday when the Lakers host the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night.

Officially, Kobe is a game-time decision due to his sore shoulder. But then this leaked, via Mark Medina of the LA Daily News.

It sounds like the Lakers are giving Kobe the option to change his mind — because he’s Kobe and the Lakers are still his show — but they are planning to take on the struggling Kings without him.

I’d say adjust your fantasy hoops lineups accordingly, but if you have Kobe on your fantasy team this season you have some bigger issues to sort through.