San Antonio Spurs: Defending home court against the LA Clippers

Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs handle the ball against the LA Clippers. (Photos by Darren Carroll/NBAE via Getty Images)
Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs handle the ball against the LA Clippers. (Photos by Darren Carroll/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The San Antonio Spurs were able to defend home court the last time they hosted the LA Clippers, can they do it again tonight?

In a season of ups and downs, the San Antonio Spurs have had their fair share of ugly games. One of their highlights was the surprising defeat that they handed the LA Clippers in late November. The ten-point Spurs victory marked one of the lowest scoring nights for the Clippers all season and one of San Antonio’s best wins.

In that most recent matchup between the two teams, the Spurs were able to hold Paul George to just five points, his lowest production of the season so far. He’s been on a tear since then, averaging 28 points per contest on a barrage of three-point shots.

George is one of the leagues leading high-volume three-point shooters. He averages 9.9 attempts from behind the arc per night and connects on 41 percent of them. At 6’9 he can get a shot off over anyone the Spurs throw at him. Even still, closing out hard and running him off the line is key for San Antonio tonight.

Even if San Antonio is able to limit George, they still have to deal with Kawhi Leonard. Leonard’s performance this year has been overshadowed by those of other stars like James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo but he’s still as brutally efficient as he’s ever been.

His scoring has taken a step back from where it was last year but on a team, as loaded as the Clippers that’s not surprising. What has been more noticeable has been the increased role he has taken on in setting up his teammates and how effective he’s been in that area of the game.

Leonard is now assisting on 27 percent of the Clippers field goals when he’s on the floor. That blows his previous career-high of 18.9 percent out of the water. He’s adept at patiently going thorough a pick and roll, getting the defender on his back, and then making the right pass to set up an easy field goal.

It can be easy to focus on locking down just George and Leonard but with the other weapons that LA has, it would be a huge mistake for San Antonio to overlook guys like Landry Shamet, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell.

As they did in their last game against the Clippers, San Antonio will need a total team effort tonight. Everyone from LaMarcus Aldridge to Patty Mills will have to play up to their very best if the Spurs want to repeat their success.

San Antonio closed out their last game against the Brooklyn Nets well but started slow. They were able to close the gap and eventually get the win in that one but it’ll be harder to overcome a deficit against an elite defensive team like the Clippers. Coming out strong will be key tonight.

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Gameday bets and predictions

Spread: San Antonio Spurs +6

Over/Under: 226.5

All betting information courtesy of The Action Network. 

The Clippers are one of the toughest teams in the league to get a win against but the Spurs have played them tough in both contests so far and the record is tied. Maybe it’s the challenge of going up against a top-tier team that does it but LA seems to bring out the very best in the Spurs.

San Antonio is very capable of getting a win tonight and should have no issue covering this spread. They ended their last game well and have been playing better as of late. There are still a few head-scratching moments per game but overall things are looking up in the Alamo City. A win against the Clippers would not be at all shocking.

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If San Antonio is able to come out strong and move the ball well they should be able to pull out a win tonight. However, if they’re flat and slow to start the game they’ll have a very tough time pulling themselves back into the game. It goes down tonight at 7:30 pm.