The old axiom of “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” has been one of the deciding factors for San Antonio this season, but the Spurs will be looking to get out of the gate with a little more giddy-up when they host the injury-depleted Los Angeles Clippers on Monday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
The Spurs head into Monday’s game off a rousing 98-96 win over Dallas on Saturday in which they never led until Manu Ginobili’s final basket on a running, left-handed layup with 3.1 seconds to play. San Antonio scored the final 13 points of the game to erase an 11-point deficit over the final 31/2 minutes.
The game-winning shot was Ginobili’s second in a stretch of eight days (he also canned a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Boston on Dec. 9) and successfully brought San Antonio all the way back from a 14-point first-half deficit after another in a series of ragged starts by the Spurs (20-10).
The win over Dallas snapped a two-game losing streak for San Antonio and came with three starters — guards Danny Green and Tony Parker, and forward Kawhi Leonard — on the bench nursing injuries or resting to rehab them.
“We had a very slow start and a very poor defensive performance,” Ginobili said. “We got through it and that got us back in the game. We are not getting consistency yet and hopefully we get it back soon because we’re not going to go that far playing only one half.”
The Spurs got 22 points and 14 rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge in the win over Dallas, marking the 25th time in 30 games that he’s led San Antonio in scoring, which is tops in the NBA. He also earned his 12th double-double of the season.
Dejounte Murray scored 14 points for San Antonio while Davis Bertans hit for 13, Ginobili had 12 points and Forbes added 11 for the Spurs, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
“We did in one quarter everything that we should have done the whole game,” Bertans said. “We fought hard and luckily came out with a win. I think we deserved it.”
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) December 18, 2017
Los Angeles returns to the Alamo City after a 90-85 loss at Miami on Saturday in which DeAndre Jordan scored 12 points and had 20 rebounds. Jordan is on a season-best run of four consecutive double-doubles and seven double-doubles in his last eight starts.
The Clippers (11-17) did not have a lead in the contest until the 6:09 mark in the fourth quarter when Milos Teodosic nailed a 3-pointer to give Los Angeles a 77-75 advantage.
Montrezl Harrell led the Clippers with 15 points, and Lou Williams and Teodosic each had 13 points for the Los Angeles, which played without forward Blake Griffin (left knee), guard Danilo Gallinari (glute), and guard Austin Rivers (concussion).
The Clippers have lost two straight after winning three games in a row.
Both Williams and Clippers coach Doc Rivers questioned the officiating during and after the game, openly asking why the calls went against them in the stretch run of a game that came down to a series of late possessions.
“I don’t know if we would have won the game or not, but I thought we got missed calls down the stretch and I thought that hurt us,” Rivers said. “Having said that, I just love our spirit. There are so many reasons not to hang in there, not to play and our guys just keep doing it.”
San Antonio beat the Clippers at home on Nov. 7 and owns a 70-12 all-time home record against Los Angeles.
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