SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich are not fans of the congested early schedules the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs are playing.
But the Clippers can rest easier after their largest victory over the Spurs on the second night of a back-to-back for both teams.
Blake Griffin scored a season-high 28 points and the Clippers handed the Spurs a second straight home loss, 116-92 on Saturday night.
“It was great to win,” Rivers said. “It’s always great to win here, but these games shouldn’t happen. You could literally see both teams, they couldn’t even walk in the middle of the third quarter. A national TV game with two elite teams should be (played) with a day off.”
The Spurs have dropped two straight at the AT&T Center after losing just two regular-season home games in the previous 600 days, including a 40-1 mark last season.
San Antonio had not lost consecutive home games since dropping back-to-back triple-overtime games to Memphis (117-116) and Portland (129-119) in December 2014.
“We feel like we gave two away,” San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard said, “but we’ve just got to learn from our mistakes. Teams that are good learn from their failures.”
It was the Clippers’ most lopsided victory in 160 games against the Spurs and it started on a historic note. Los Angeles scored the most points in the opening half in Popovich’s 21 seasons, rolling to a 73-55 lead.
The Clippers shot 50 percent from the field while dominating the battle between one-loss teams.
“We got some stops and got out in transition,” said Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who had nine points and 10 assists. “We played a lot of faster than we’ve been playing and we got some easy buckets.”
After giving up eight straight points to open the game, the Clippers made eight consecutive stops to take a 16-8 lead they would never relinquish.
“After that it was just survival for us because we had a big enough lead,” Rivers said.
Jamal Crawford finished with 16 points, J.J. Redick had 14 and Luc Mbah a Moute had 14 points while shooting 2 for 4 on 3-pointers.
But it was Griffin who keyed the early run.
The 6-foot-10 forward had 26 points in the first half, shooting 12 for 16 from the field.
“Our offense was clicking so well I got out in transition, got some easy ones there,” Griffin said. “But I also got some easy looks from C.P. and (DeAndre Jordan) rolling. It’s nice to have those easy looks go down and that kind of builds your confidence.”
Griffin finished 13 for 19 from the field, banking in shots and rising up for jumpers against LaMarcus Aldridge.
“I’m no dummy, I just told them to get it to him,” Rivers said. “I didn’t care where, but through movement. They did a good job of not just handing it to him they swung it, swung it and then dropped it. But when he’s that hot, you just try to get it to him and space the floor.”
Aldridge had 19 points and Leonard added 14, but the duo shot a combined 10 for 26.
Clippers: Redick has the longest active streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer at 62 straight. He was 2 for 3 on 3-pointers. … Crawford raised his career total to 17,145 points, passing Grant Hill (17,137) for 88th on the career scoring list. … Redick completed a four-point play in the first quarter, the 26th of his career. He is second in league history, trailing Crawford’s 47.
Spurs: C Pau Gasol had one assist, becoming the third 7-footer in league history with 3,500 in his career. Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 5,660 assists and Wilt Chamberlain had 4,643. . Leonard was 8 for 8 on free throws, raising his season total to 61 for 63. He is the first Spurs player with 60-plus free throws in the team’s first seven games since Tim Duncan in 2007.
Mbah a Moute shot 5 for 9 from the field and helped hold Leonard to 3-for-13 shooting.
“We are just always trying to tell Luc that we’ve got the utmost confidence in him,” Paul said. “Luc put in some great work this summer. Sometimes I think we believe in him more than he believes in himself.”
Mbah a Moute entered the game averaging 2.4 points.
Popovich wore a “Vote Pedro” shirt to his pregame interview, which was the same one worn by Napoleon Dynamite in the 2004 cult movie classic.
Popovich was asked recently if he would ever consider running for president, but the matter-of-fact coach said he would never make it through the first debate.