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SAN ANTONIO SPURS (57-29) at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (58-28)
The Clippers and Spurs battle for a lead in the series when the two teams meet in Los Angeles for Game 5 on Tuesday.
The Clippers went into San Antonio down 2-1 in Game 4 Sunday and played an unbelievable game, winning 114-105 as 6-point underdogs. Los Angeles was in a must-win situation and came through on both ends of the floor, shooting 53.6percent from the field and also holding the Spurs to 44.0percent shooting. The Clippers desperately needed to shoot the ball well, as they could have suffered from a loss of confidence after shooting 34.1percent from the field in Game 3. These teams have now split victories both SU and ATS in this series. Two of the games have gone Under the total and the other two both went Over. Over the past three seasons, these teams have split victories both SU and ATS when playing at Staples Center. San Antonio is 10-0 ATS after a game committing eight or less turnovers this season and gets to face a Clippers team that is 4-13 ATS in home games after a combined score of 215 points or more on the season. The Spurs are not currently dealing with any injuries and both SF Matt Barnes (Shoulder) and PF Blake Griffin (Shoulder) are probable for the Clippers in this one.
The Spurs were unable to take a 3-1 lead by defeating the Clippers at home in Game 4 and will now look to steal a win in Los Angeles in order to give themselves a chance to close it out at home in Game 6. SF Kawhi Leonard (24.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 BPG in playoffs) had 26 points, seven boards and five assists in 40 minutes of action on Sunday. Leonard is shooting 56.3percent from the outside over the past five games and has been outstanding on both sides of the ball. It would not be surprising at all if the Spurs turn him loose offensively in this one. He is one of the only players who has consistently created his own shot in this series. PF Tim Duncan (16.3 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 2.3 BPG in playoffs) had 22 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks in Game 4. He did, however, foul out in the game and must be more disciplined on the defensive end. He has been able to score around the basket, but he hasnt done a good job of defending Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan when called upon. PG Tony Parker (8.8 PPG, 2.5 APG in playoffs) had 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the field in Game 4. It was his best offensive performance of the postseason and hell need to find a way to be effective in Game 5.
The Clippers won a huge game on the road in Game 4 and PG Chris Paul (23.5 PPG, 6.0 APG, 5.3 RPG, 1.5 SPG in playoffs) caught fire for Los Angeles. Paul had 34 points and seven assists in 38 minutes of action and has torched every Spurs guard that has tried to cover him so far. Hell need to continue to be aggressive as a scorer moving forward, as San Antonio does not have an answer for him. PF Blake Griffin (22.3 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.3 SPG in playoffs) has also had a fantastic series for the Clippers. Griffin had 20 points, 19 boards, seven assists and a steal in 43 minutes of action on Sunday. His speed has been too much to handle for Tim Duncan and hell need to continue to attack the rim moving forward. C DeAndre Jordan (11.3 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 3.0 BPG) has had everybodys back defensively in this series and blocked four shots in Game 4. He is, however, shooting just 33.3percent from the line in this series and has been a liability at times when the Spurs turn to the Hack-a-Shaq. One player who really stepped his game up in Game 4 was PG Austin Rivers (8.3 PPG in playoffs). Rivers had 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field and provided the scoring spark that Los Angeles needed to get over the hump.