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Mills fill the bill as Spurs top Clippers

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Feb 19 2014 01:40:16 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 19 2014 01:50:53 AM CST
closeup of basketball seams, ball

Jason Antony/SXC

LOS ANGELES -

With injured San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker sitting out Tuesday night, Patty Mills filled the void in a big way.

Mills came off the bench to score 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Spurs defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 113-103 at Staples Center.

"He killed us, I mean really," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "We started blitzing, and even then he made shots. I don't know if Parker could've been much better, when you look at it. He played terrific."

The Spurs (39-15) snapped a three-game winning streak by the Clippers (37-19) and handed Los Angeles a rare home defeat. Los Angeles is 23-5 at Staples. San Antonio has the NBA's best road mark, 21-7.

"(Mills) was great for us," said forward Tim Duncan, who finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. "That fourth quarter there, he took over for five minutes and gave us the lead that we needed. We were struggling trying to find points and trying to keep the pressure on. He just took the ballgame over. It was great for us and a great stretch for him."

Mills connected on nine of 15 shots from the floor. He also had five rebounds and five assists. Guard Marco Belinelli added 20 points, and forward Danny Green chipped in 14 points. Mills outscored the entire Clippers' bench, which accounted for 20 points.

"You can't replace a Tony Parker, that's for sure," said Mills, who shot 6-for-8 from the field in the final period, hitting two 3-pointers. "It's collectively, doing the job collectively, and I think that's what we (did) tonight. We (threw) the ball around like a hot potato and found open shooters. That opened stuff up in the lane."

Forward Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 35 points and 12 rebounds, while guard Jamal Crawford finished with 25 points. Chris Paul scored 11 points and handed out nine assists, but the point guard missed nine of his 10 shots from the field. Center DeAndre Jordan added 18 rebounds and six blocks.

Despite his performance, Griffin said he was weary from all of the activities and playing at last weekend's All-Star Game in New Orleans.

"Don't quite have the legs. Not feeling refreshed," said Griffin, who topped 6,000 points in his career in the first half, becoming the eighth active player to do so before the end of his fourth season. "It happens to a lot of guys. It's not an excuse, and I don't want to act like it is. We just have to find a way to be better."

The Spurs took an 86-76 lead on a jumper by Mills less than two minutes into the fourth quarter. Mills' 3-pointer with 8:46 left pushed the advantage to 93-81. Los Angeles cut the lead to six on a Crawford trey with 5:17 remaining, but they got no closer as Mills and the Spurs pulled away.

"I think everybody tonight was great," Belinelli said. "Patty Mills was fantastic in the fourth quarter."

The Spurs converted nine of 20 attempts from behind the arc, with Belinelli hitting three of six. The Clippers made only six of 21 from 3-point range. San Antonio also outrebounded the Clippers 48-38.

San Antonio took a 56-51 lead at the break, ending the half on a 14-3 run.

The clubs split their previous meetings, with Los Angeles rolling to a 115-92 victory on Dec. 16 and the Spurs coasting to a 116-92 win on Jan. 4. That was the Clippers' worst defeat this season.

NOTES: After former coach George Karl said on ESPN he heard this might be the final season for Tim Duncan, the Spurs power forward shot down the speculation. "I don't know what I'm going to do, so I don't know how he knows what I'm going to do," Duncan said. . ... San Antonio PG Tony Parker, who played 11 minutes in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game, is out indefinitely with a variety of injuries. Popovich, who said the wear and tear of the past three seasons took a toll on Parker, wouldn't speculate when the All-Star would return. ... San Antonio F Kawhi Leonard, out since Jan. 22 with a non-displaced fracture in his right hand, performed shooting drills before the contest but isn't expected to play during the final two games of the road trip. ... Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he doesn't know when G J.J. Redick, who has a bulging disk, will return. "I guess the word would be (when it) calms down so he can get his movement," Rivers said. "That could be three days, two weeks, three weeks, no one knows."

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