Coach Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs face the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
San Antonio has been enigmatic this season but is finally playing consistently and bunching together victories.
It will take a lot more than that, though, for the Spurs to continue their win streak when they host the surprising Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs have regained their stride, winning three straight games for the first time since a four-game run in an eight-day span from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3 and reaching .500 for the first time in almost a month with a 111-86 victory over Phoenix on Tuesday.
San Antonio's surge has coincided with its longest homestand of the season. The Spurs have won the first three games in the six-game stretch at home.
On Tuesday, San Antonio (14-14) got a season-high 24 points (which included a 5-of-5 shooting from 3-point territory) and a career-high 11 rebounds from Bryn Forbes.
"I've been off for a little bit the last couple of games, so it was good to see them go back in," Forbes said of his 3-point shooting. "But I mean, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, LA (LaMarcus Aldridge) -- (those) guys made the game easy. They found me wide open because people were doubling them and it just makes it easy for me."
The Spurs shot 62 percent as a team from beyond the arc in Tuesday's win and produced an overall balanced offensive attack. Aldridge chipped in 18 points and Dante Cunningham had 14, Gay scored 13, Marco Belinelli produced 11 points and Jakob Poeltl grabbed 11 rebounds for San Antonio.
"A win is a win and we're certainly going to take it," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "We've got a big game coming up Thursday."
The Clippers (17-10) head to San Antonio after a deflating 123-99 loss at home to Toronto on Tuesday in which the Raptors rolled despite being without injured star Kawhi Leonard. The game was the second of a road-home back-to-back and Los Angeles played from behind throughout, getting just 35 points from its starting five.
"We played an overtime game Monday night, the schedule we've been on, we can make all the excuses and we have them, but we don't have to take them," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought tonight we just gave into Toronto's offensive pressure. They played downhill the entire night."
The Clippers are nearing the end of a 17-game stretch without consecutive home dates, a span that started Nov. 15 and finishes Dec. 17.
Los Angeles also played without guard Lou Williams because of a hamstring injury. Former Spurs reserve center Boban Marjanovic scored a team-high 18 points off the bench in 15 minutes for the Clippers, which lost for the fourth time in six games.
Tyrone Wallace added 15 points for Los Angeles and leading scorer Tobias Harris held to 10 points, 11.4 points below his season average.
"We played a good team on Tuesday," Los Angeles guard Patrick Beverley said. "And today showed that we need a lot of work, which is fine. We'll get better. It's a long season as we have no other choice but to get better. Let's not get it twisted, we're still one of the top teams in the NBA."
The Clippers won the first meeting with the Spurs this season, 116-11 on Nov. 15 in Los Angeles. The Spurs still own a 126-41 edge over the Clippers, including a 71-13 advantage in San Antonio.