LOS ANGELES — Tim Duncan scored 19 points, helping engineer a 24-0 run in the third quarter after the Spurs trailed by 24 points, and San Antonio defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 96-86 on Saturday to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their second-round playoff series.
Tony Parker had 23 points, rookie Kawhi Leonard 14 and Manu Ginobili 13 to help the top-seeded Spurs win their 17th in a row and improve to 7-0 in the playoffs.
Blake Griffin had 28 points and 16 rebounds, and reserve Mo Williams added 19 points for the Clippers, who face some daunting NBA history heading into Game 4 today at Staples Center. No team has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.
Playing with a left hip injury and a sprained right knee, Griffin missed just three shots in the first half, when he scored 20 points and the Clippers led by 24. Slowed by a strained right hip, Chris Paul finished with 12 points and 11 assists after two previous subpar efforts in the series.
After a quiet first half in which he scored eight points, Duncan helped the Spurs control the third quarter when they outscored Los Angeles 26-8.
The Spurs took their first lead during a 23-0 run on a fadeaway jumper by Duncan, who scored nine points in the outburst that put them ahead for good. Danny Green added seven and Leonard five. The Clippers’ defense completely faltered and they piled up miss after miss on the offensive end.
APOLOGY ACCEPTED? Pacers reserve guard Lance Stephenson apologized for making a choking gesture toward LeBron James.
The NBA’s MVP wasn’t so forgiving. In fact, he didn’t even know he had been mocked.
James said Saturday that he was unaware that Stephenson had been caught by cameras in front of Indiana’s bench wrapping his hands around his throat after the Miami star after a missed technical foul during Game 3 on Thursday night.
“Lance Stephenson? You want a quote about Lance Stephenson?” James said after practice. “I’m not even going to give him the time.”