With Big Three back, Spurs rout Clippers
The Big Three were back together for a blowout. Yep, the San Antonio Spurs were glad to finally see one of these again.
Reuniting Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili for the first time since the All-Star break, the Spurs celebrated with an easy 111-98 romp over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. It also was San Antonio's most comfortable win in weeks.
Parker had 18 and Ginobili had 14 before they and Duncan, who had 13, kicked back for most of the fourth quarter. They watched the Spurs win their third straight before, and now start the final 10 games finally healthy with a slim lead for the No. 2 seed in the West.
"We're back, but we aren't back," Ginobili said. "These 10 games are going to be different than the previous ones we've had heading into the playoffs."
The Spurs have won three NBA titles in five seasons by usually having their rotations and kinks worked out by now. But that's been derailed this season by injuries, including Ginobili's bum right ankle that kept him out of 19 games before returning this week.
Clippers guard Mike Taylor, starting in place of an ill Baron Davis, scored 23 points. The Clippers then lost another starter when Marcus Camby sprained his ankle early in the first quarter. X-rays were negative, but he's expected to miss the next one to two weeks.
Davis sat out with a stomach flu, and the Clippers couldn't do much without him or Camby. They trailed by 20 in the first quarter, 24 in the second and 27 in the third when the Spurs parked Duncan on the bench for good.
"They just make shots at such a high percentage," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "They always seem to find the open guy."
The Spurs probably won't be able to rest their stars so much Sunday at New Orleans. The Hornets are also fighting in the logjammed Western Conference for home-court advantage, but fell 3 1/2 games behind San Antonio on Friday with a loss at New York.
It was rare runaway win for the Spurs, who've had five of their last eight games decided by three points or less. They got it as Duncan, Ginobili and Parker played in a game together for the first time since Feb. 11.
"It's good to have another playmaker out there," Spurs guard Roger Mason said. "It's going to take a little time, but hopefully it's enough time."
Michael Finley had 11 points and Matt Bonner had 10 for the Spurs. San Antonio shot 56.1 percent from the field and turned the ball over just three times.
The Clippers lost their 12th straight in San Antonio, a streak that dates to 2002. Two nights after gutting out a 140-135 overtime win in New York, the Clippers are limping toward the finish line of their six-game road swing Saturday at Houston.
They'll get there without Camby. Bothered by injuries all season, Camby got another with 9:02 left in the first when he collapsed to the court after going up for a rebound with Duncan. He gingerly limped back to the locker room with the help of others.
Eric Gordon had 18 points, and Zach Randolph and Al Thornton had 16 apiece for the Clippers.
Spurs F Fabricio Oberto didn't play after being troubled by an irregular heartbeat Thursday. Oberto said before the game he felt OK, but will remain out until at least Tuesday while doctors monitor his heart. ... The Spurs have a safe lead in the all-time series, enjoying a 107-28 edge over the Clippers.