LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Clippers were unable to capitalize on the return of eight-time all-star Chris Paul, falling 105-97 to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, February 25.
Paul scored 17 points, six rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes as he made his return from a five-week absence due to a torn hand ligament.
“I came out unscathed, which is great,” Paul said. “It was a tough loss, but it felt good to get through an entire game.”
Blake Griffin scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds and five assists for the Clippers. Deandre Jordan had 14 points and eight rebounds. Austin Rivers added 23 points off the bench.
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 21 points, three rebounds and six assists despite having five fouls by the third quarter. His defense helped the Spurs hold the Clippers to just 13 points in the first quarter.
“We’re coming down to our last 20 games,” Leonard said. “This is the time we need to jell as a team, make our playoff push, make our weakness strong.”
Tony Parker had 17 points and LaMarcus Aldridge notched a double-double with 15 points and 11 assists. Patty Mills added 14 points off the bench. Pau Gasol scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds after missing 15 games because of a fractured finger.
The Spurs have won three straight games, moving to 44-13 on the season and second place in the Western Conference. San Antonio will play their second consecutive game at Staples Center in a matchup against the Lakers on Sunday, February 26.
Los Angeles has lost two games in a row and five of their last 10, falling to 35-23 overall and fifth place in the Western Conference. The Clippers will continue a three-game home-stand with a meeting with the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, February 26.