The Los Angeles Clippers are quickly becoming one of the most underrated teams in the NBA and have now improved to 7-1 at home. Lou Williams poured in 23 points off the bench, Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris added 19 and 18 points respectively, to give the Clippers (9-5) a 116-111 victory over the San Antonio Spurs (7-7) Thursday night at Staples Center.
“This was a gritty win,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “We talked about this before the year. We’re gonna have a lot of close games. “I think we can beat anybody and we can lose to anybody if we don’t play right.”
Once again, Williams was the hero for Los Angeles, draining a huge go-ahead three-pointer with 41.4 seconds (110-107).
DeMar DeRozan finished with 34 points for the Spurs and ultimately got San Antonio within one, (109-110), but Los Angeles then closed the game with a 6-1 run.
“We feel like we’re a good basketball team despite what people are talking about,” said Williams after Los Angeles escaped with another home win, third in a row.
Even with a starless roster, Los Angeles has taken down the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and now Spurs in consecutive games.
Montrezl Harrell kept his impressive play going, chipping in with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Patrick Beverley added 10 points, seven boards and four assists.
Los Angeles opened the second quarter with a 15-2 run that ballooned to their largest lead at 44-30.
However, the Spurs answered with a 31-17 run, including 10 points alone by DeRozan.
The Spurs had chance-after-chance in the second half to close out the game, but the Clippers made bigger plays in the crunch time.
Los Angeles shot 47 percent from the field and held San Antonio to 40 percent, making things tough for the Spurs key players.
Rudy Gay finished with 19 points off the bench, making 8 of 12 shots. LaMarcus Aldridge struggled from the field, making only three of 15 shots for 10 points.
“It sucks to lose these games but it’s still early in the season,” DeRozan said. “We’d rather go through it now than later. Everybody in the league is right there. Once we catch our stride, we’ll be fine.”
“We fight all the way back and then at the end it unravels, so that’s pretty frustrating,” said Spurs guard Bryn Forbes who finished with 17 points on 5 of 11 shooting. “The last two games we actually tied it with a few minutes to go and just completely blew it.”