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May 19, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) blocks a dunk attempt by Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) in the second half of game three of the Western Conference semi finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. San Antonio Spurs won 96-86. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Playoffs 2012: Los Angeles Clippers Blow Huge Lead, Spurs Complete Comeback And Win Game 3

Tony Parker scored 23 points and dished out 10 assists as the San Antonio Spurs overcame a 24 point first half deficit and defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 96-86 in game 3 this afternoon.

The Spurs now hold a 3-0 series lead and can complete the sweep of L.A tomorrow evening at Staples Center. 

CALM, COOL AND COLLECTED

Down by 24 points? No problem.

Despite what seemed like an insurmountable lead by the Clippers, the Spurs never lost their composure. They never appeared to be rattled. Their experience in high-pressure situations certainly gave them hope that this game was never at all lost despite being down by so many points.

The Spurs didn’t begin this ball game in the most effective of manners. After just one quarter, the Spurs were down 33-11 with the game slipping away by the second. From that point on, San Antonio became an entirely different team shooting 54% from the field and 44% from long range the rest of the way.

On top of Parkers double-double of 23 points and 10 assists, Tim Duncan would also contribute with one of his own as he finished the game with 19 points and 13 rebounds. He also added 3 blocks on defense as well.

Rookie Kawhi Leonard gave the Spurs a huge boost on offense and used his length and quickness to rattle the Clipper guards on defense. Leonard scored 14 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and hit 3 big three-pointers.

The third quarter was the big reason behind why the Spurs were able to overtake the Clippers in this one. San Antonio went on a 24-0 run and outscored L.A 26-8 to finish the quarter. From there on out, it was academic.

The Spurs must be brimming with confidence right now. They’ve now won 17 straight games and haven’t lost in over 5 weeks. Not only have they shown that they can blow teams out, but they can also make unbelievable comebacks and stay in games despite whatever the scoreboard might say.

If they continue playing at this rate, that 5th championship for Tim Duncan and company will seem more and more obtainable by the game.

CLIPPERS COLLAPSE

I suppose the Clippers can now sympathize with what Memphis went through in game 1 of their series after blowing a huge lead of their own this afternoon.

Everything seemed to be clicking for Los Angeles in the first quarter. The team had a 33-11 lead and the players were firing on all cylinders.

Blake Griffin was playing out of his mind basketball in the first two quarters with 20 points on 10 for 13 shooting. He cooled off in the second half (8 points, 3 for 11), but this was still seemingly a breakout-type game for Blake.

The Clippers had a 53-43 lead at the half after shooting a scorching 56% from the field. A game 3 victory at home seemed to be all but secure with the way they were playing. Unfortunately in the second half, all of their momentum disappeared. San Antonio went on their 24-0 run in the third quarter and ran away with the ball game from there on out.

For the third straight outing, Chris Paul was a complete non-factor. He did have a double-double of 12 points and 11 assists, but it took him 17 shots to get it. Paul now has just 28 points over the course of 3 games against San Antonio. You can blame it on his injuries or San Antonio’s smothering defense, but Chris Paul has all but vanished from this series.

Things don’t look good for the Clippers at this point. No team in NBA history has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs. The Clippers have lost all three games in this series by double-digits and have now lost 29 of 33 games against San Antonio dating back to December 1st 2003.

Stick a fork in the Clippers. They’re done.

QUOTES OF THE GAME

”You knew they were going to make a run. It was just a matter of trying to withstand it. In the second half, especially the third quarter, we did a poor job of responding. I missed some shots I hit in the first half, easy shots.’‘ – Clippers forward Blake Griffin

”They came out like we expected, very strong. Blake was making crazy shots. We just took our time. It’s a long game, a very long game. At halftime, we were very calm.’‘ – Spurs guard Tony Parker

TWEET OF THE GAME

FINAL THOUGHTS

- I’m not going to be jumping on any bandwagon just yet, but the San Antonio Spurs look pretty much unbeatable at this point. I’d put them at the top of the food chain over Oklahoma City and Miami with the way they’ve been playing as of late. Say what you will about their competition, but domination is still domination.

- If the Spurs do qualify for the NBA championship this June, I hope fans don’t turn off their television sets in anticipation of some “boring” basketball from the Spurs. They’ve been one of the more exciting teams to watch this postseason. Give them a chance.

NEXT GAME

Game 4: Sunday May 20th, 10:30 pm ET, Staples Center

 

Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports

Tags: Blake Griffin Chris Paul Los Angeles Clippers NBA Playoffs 2012 San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan Tony Parker

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