May 1, 2015 12:47 AM
Clippers beat Spurs 102-96 to force Game 7
The Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds and Chris Paul had 19 points and 15 assists as the Los Angeles Clippers held on for a 102-96 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night, forcing a Game 7 in their first-round series.
Marco Belinelli hit two 3-pointers in the final 80 seconds, including one with 14 seconds remaining, to cut the Clippers lead to 98-96. But Jamal Crawford hit two free throws to preserve the win.
The Clippers, who won for the second time in San Antonio, forced a Game 7 on Saturday in Los Angeles. No other first-round series has gone the distance.
J.J. Redick added 19 points and DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 14 rebounds for Los Angeles.
Belinelli led San Antonio with 23 points, including going 7 for 11 from 3-point range. Boris Diaw had 17 points, Tim Duncan added 12 points and 13 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard had 12 points for the defending champions.
The Spurs' bench outscored the Clippers' 48-15, but Los Angeles' starting five had an 87-48 advantage.
Paul was 7 for 21 from the field, but he helped steady the Clippers when they needed it.
He hit a fadeaway jumper and a 3-pointer to give Los Angeles an 85-78 lead with 7 minutes left, snapping a 3-minute drought by both teams at the start of the fourth quarter. The Clippers would hold the Spurs without a field goal for just over 4 minutes.
Los Angeles opened the second half on an 11-2 run, with San Antonio failing to score in the first 2 1/2 minutes.
A 12-foot jumper by Paul and a dunk by Glen Davis gave the Clippers a 76-72 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Spurs employed their hack-a-Jordan strategy early, intentionally fouling the Clippers center before the ball was inbounded with 5 minutes left in the first quarter. Jordan responded by making both free throws and then stole the ball on the ensuing possession and sprinted for an emphatic one-handed dunk ahead of Duncan.
Jordan finished the game 7 for 15 from the free throw line.
San Antonio committed eight turnovers in the first quarter, but still rallied from a seven-point deficit for a 26-all tie entering the second quarter and 51-all at the half.
Belinelli hit four consecutive 3-pointers, including a leaning jumper into Redick for a 38-32 lead.
Clippers: The Clippers have never won a best-of-seven series when they trailed 3-2. ... Davis left the game in the third quarter after spraining his left ankle. He had two points and three rebounds in 10 minutes before being helped off the court. ... Griffin (13.4) and Jordan (13.0) are the first teammates to average 13 rebounds in a series since the Spurs' David Robinson (15.7) and Dennis Rodman (15.4) did so in 1995. ... Paul is averaging 9.9 assists per game in the postseason, which is third all-time to Magic Johnson (11.2) and John Stockton (10.5).
Spurs: San Antonio lost for the first time in eight close out games at home since 2006 and is 13-5 in those games under coach Gregg Popovich. ... The Spurs' bench entered Thursday averaging 44.6 points in the series compared to 23.8 by the Clippers. ... Tony Parker had eight points and seven assists, giving him 3,761 career postseason points to move past Hakeem Olajuwon for 11th place all-time and 1,054 postseason assists to surpass Scottie Pippen for sixth.