LOS ANGELES — The San Antonio Spurs (6-11) had a tough game in Los Angeles and got blown out by a hot-shooting Clippers team on Saturday night, losing for the ninth time in the last ten.
The Clippers shot a blistering 21-39 from three, and led by 18 after the first quarter. Jakob Poeltl led the way for San Antonio with 20 points and 8 boards. The Spurs will get another shot at it Sunday night in LA when they take on the Lakers.
San Antonio had a lengthy injury report before this game, but Devin Vassell was the only starter out. A sign of how much things have changed for the Spurs in five years, none of these players were teammates with Kawhi Leonard, who got just his second start of the year.
Jakob Poeltl started strong with a pair of and-1s and a pair of assists. Jeremy Sochan hit a mid-range jumper, and Keldon Johnson ripped a steal and went coast to coast before dumping it off to Keita Bates-Diop for an easy bucket.
KBD blocked Kawhi and scored past him on the other end in an impressive display of length and strength.
The Clippers ripped off a run to take a 10-point lead before Isaiah Roby answered with a three of his own. Doug McDermott finished a cutting layup and then hit a three, both off feeds from Josh Richardson.
Los Angeles shot 9-16 from three in the first, led by Paul George who scored 18. San Antonio trailed 40-22 after one.
Tre Jones made a tough lefty layup through traffic, then Kawhi answered off a lob. McBuckets rained another three, then finished another layup to get into double figures.
Poeltl finished off a beautiful bounce pass from Jones, and Keldon came back in and tipped in his own miss before draining a triple to cut LA's lead to single digits.
Sochan lost the ball, but made up for it with a thunderous block before diming Keldon on a tough layup. LA closed the quarter on another run to put them at 14-25 from deep in the first half, and San Antonio trailed 64-48 at the break.
Paul George left the game after halftime with a sore knee. Jakob Poeltl and Tre Jones set each other up for buckets a few times, and Poeltl scored 10 in his third-quarter stint.
Sochan hit another jumper, but turned it over a few times. In general San Antonio's offense struggled as the Clippers extended their lead to 22 by the end of the quarter.
Tre Jones dimed Roby on a layup and McDermott on a three for his ninth and tenth assists of the game. Sochan committed his sixth turnover on a sloppy night for the rookie.
Malaki Branham came into the game and hit a three as Coach Popovich emptied the bench. Most of the fourth quarter crowd noise came as fans hoped a Spur would miss two free throws in a row and earn them free chicken, but San Antonio at least managed to send the fans home disappointed in that regard.
The Spurs fell 119-97, their ninth loss in the last ten tries.
The Spurs are coming off a 130-112 road loss versus the Kings.
Devin Vassell had 29 points and three rebounds to lead the team while Tre Jones added 15 points. Jeremy Sochan finished with 11 points and four rebounds while Keita Bates-Diop recorded 16 points.
"I thought we did great. I was really proud. They did a hell of a job," Popovich said. "All-in-all the execution, the competitiveness was great by a bunch of guys that haven't been around for very long. They gave everything they had. We got better tonight."
"It's the grit. It's the next-man-up mentality. Everybody stays ready all the time," Keita Bates-Diop said.
The Spurs will be in their Association Edition jerseys tonight.
5 THINGS TO WATCH:
1. The Spurs have made fewer three-point shots than their opponents in three-straight games.
2. The Spurs are allowing 126.3 points per game in their last three games.
3. The Spurs are 3-0 on the road when leading at halftime.
4. The Clippers have outrebounded their opponents in four-straight games.
5. The Clippers are 7-1 when leading after the first period this season.
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