The only playoff series tied after game 2? Spurs and Clippers following a 111-107 win by the defending champions in overtime to head back to San Antonio with stolen home court advantage, and a feeling they’ve fixed the course back to what it should be.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 28 points and was the only big three member still on the floor late in the game. Manu Ginobili fouled out and Tony Parker played with an injured Achilles. Duncan went just 1-for-5 from the field in the fourth quarter as the game turned sluggish and more physical than before, but Duncan scored four big points in overtime while Patty Mills took over for Parker with 8 points.
Mills was also the one sending the game to overtime with a couple of free throws to tie the game at 94-94, leaving 8 seconds on the clock. The Clippers probably lost some sleep over the next turn of events, as Jamal Crawford missed a shot followed by Blake Griffin missing a tip in attempt. The Clippers got another offensive rebound, but couldn’t put up another shot in time.
Kawhi Leonard was excellent with 23 points but the big help and bonus was Mills, scoring 18 points. Parker was awful with just one point and Manu Ginobili struggled with nine points and another bad shooting game, not to mention finding it difficult to keep up on defense. But Mills gave the Clippers all sorts of trouble with his speed and eventually made the difference by going 6-for-6 from the line when it mattered the most.
Blake Griffin had a triple double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. DeAndre Jordan suffered from the hack-a-DeAndre tactics, shooting just 6-of-17 from the line, another reason for the loss. He did finish with a double double of 20 points and 15 rebounds (also 3 blocks) but continues to be a problematic link for the Clippers with his shooting from the line. Chris Paul scored 21 points, but both J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford found it difficult finding a rhythm offensively.
The Spurs did make this series a lot more interesting by bringing it back to San Antonio all tied up, but if Parker carries on looking this bad, it’s going to be difficult holding off the Clippers. If it wasn’t for free throws, this would have been a much different looking series, and home court advantage isn’t going to change the fact that the Clippers have been outplaying them so far, at least while the clock is ticking.
But we said the same things about the Miami Heat after the first two games of the 2014 NBA finals. Then you all know what happened; three straight, extremely dominant wins. The Spurs might still have that extra gear tucked in somewhere, but without Parker or Ginobili playing even remotely close to their best, it’s going to be difficult bringing it forth again.