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HomeSportsJohn Wall spurs Clippers' second-half comeback over San Antonio

John Wall spurs Clippers’ second-half comeback over San Antonio

For eight minutes Friday, the Clippers performed just like the staff that left coaching camp brazenly declaring its championship aspirations — their long-armed defenders forcing consecutive stops on one finish, their litany of shooters blowing open a lead with ruthless effectivity on the opposite.

For the ultimate 40 minutes, although, they appeared just like the staff they’ve truly been for the reason that season’s begin — uneven, uncomfortable, unexpectedly lacking a key participant and unable to carry onto a lead.

It was San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich who, in September, playfully urged that his staff — broadly anticipated to be among the many groups taking part in for the No. 1 decide forward of a draft headlined by French phenom Victor Wembanyama — may not be the perfect Las Vegas guess for a championship season. However 9 video games in, it’s the Clippers’ preseason expectation of being one of many West’s high contenders that has continued to look shaky.

But trailing by 10 within the third quarter, the Clippers ran their successful streak to a few video games in a 113-106 win by summoning clutch performs as a substitute of caving, with John Wall on the heart two nights after the veteran guard had performed a minimal function.

With guard Luke Kennard becoming a member of Paul George, Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr. and Ivica Zubac within the beginning lineup for the second straight sport, the Clippers (5-4) shortly fell behind 6-2, solely to attain 23 of the sport’s subsequent 25 factors, together with 16 unanswered at one stretch because the Spurs’ scoreless streak reached 4 minutes.

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Coach Tyronn Lue caught together with his starters out of the Spurs’ second timeout, however the magic shortly light, and it devolved totally as soon as Lue turned to his bench. Each reserve produced a damaging plus-minus within the first half — together with being outscored by 16 in Norman Powell’s 14 minutes — because the Spurs stormed again to guide by 4 at halftime. At one level Morris and Spurs ahead Zach Collins started pushing and shoving one another after a foul Collins took subject with, and each had been issued a technical, nevertheless it did little to enliven the Clippers, who had been once more short-handed.

Clippers guard Paul George (13) drives in opposition to San Antonio Spurs guard Josh Richardson throughout the second half Friday.

(Nick Wagner / Related Press)

When Kennard left for the locker room after the primary quarter, Powell took his place with the beginning lineup that closed the primary half and opened the second so inconsistently that Lue referred to as a timeout inside the third quarter’s first 2:08. Kennard didn’t return due to what the staff termed chest discomfort.

By the center of the third quarter, San Antonio’s lead grew to 10.

Coming off a season-low quarter-hour Wednesday in Houston after he was benched for the ultimate 9 minutes, Wall performed inconsistently throughout the first half, his bounce shot persevering with to not fall — and persevering with to take pictures even when the Spurs went underneath screens, unafraid of permitting him to shoot from the midrange.

But Wall was very good throughout a second-half comeback, his actions instantly resulting in factors on 4 consecutive possessions to drag the Clippers inside 94-93 early within the fourth quarter.

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Wall, who entered Friday making solely 33% of his catch-and-shoot makes an attempt, took a go from Jackson and swished a wing three-pointer, then used his pace to burst into the paint for a dump-off help to Zubac and a transition layup. Out of a San Antonio timeout, Wall scored on one other layup.

Simply as Lue had performed Powell your entire fourth quarter two days earlier in Houston as a result of he judged Powell was taking part in the perfect, Lue caught with Wall after coming into him on the halfway level of the fourth quarter.

There was excellent news for the Clippers earlier than tipoff, with ahead Robert Covington now not in well being and security protocols, which suggests he’ll probably be accessible for Sunday’s dwelling sport in opposition to Utah.

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