LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard tied his career high with 26 points despite playing with only one good eye, and the San Antonio Spurs closed with a rush to beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 89-85, Monday night.
Leonard’s vision has been affected by a case of conjunctivitis. Still, he pulled down 10 rebounds and gave the defending NBA champions their first lead with 1:44 left.
Tim Duncan added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Tony Parker scored nine of his 13 in the fourth quarter for the Spurs, who snapped a two-game skid while earning their first road win.
San Antonio finished the game on a 14-0 run, giving Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Parker their 500th career victory together. They are second among trios in NBA history to Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, who won 540 games with the Boston Celtics.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but committed two consecutive turnovers that led to the Spurs taking the lead for the first time. J.J. Redick added 13 points, and Chris Paul had 12 points and 10 rebounds while just missing his second triple-double of the season with nine assists.
The Clippers led by seven with just under 6 minutes to play before their shooting went cold and Griffin’s miscues proved costly.
He lost the ball, and Leonard’s fast-break layup gave San Antonio its first lead at 83-82. Boris Diaw then stole the ball from Griffin. Parker missed, but the ball caromed out to the Spurs and Diaw hit a floater. Ginobili scored to make it 87-82.
Jamal Crawford got fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three, drawing the Clippers within two.
Ginobili missed two free throws with 10 seconds to go and the Clippers called a timeout. New owner Steve Ballmer clenched his fists and bellowed, “Let’s go!” as fans rose to their feet.
Paul missed on a drive to the basket and Griffin landed on the floor going for the rebound as the Clippers called a timeout they didn’t have.
After a review, the clock was set at 1.4 seconds. Parker missed the technical foul shot, but the Spurs retained possession. Leonard got fouled in the final seconds and made both.
San Antonio twice got within two in the fourth, both times on free throws by Parker. He made a pair after Paul got called for a foul, although it appeared Parker pushed him down with his hand as the two got tangled on a drive to the basket.
The Clippers ran off five straight points to increase their lead to 82-75.
Both teams went 2 minutes without scoring before Duncan rattled off six straight points as part of the 14-0 run.
The Spurs opened the third with an 11-9 run that cut their deficit to 51-50. Matt Bonner and Leonard hit consecutive 3-pointers after Leonard’s three-point play.
The Clippers responded with a 13-7 spurt that extended their lead to 64-57. Five different players scored, including Spencer Hawes on a fast-break dunk off Griffin’s alley-oop pass.
Duncan got untracked in the second with nine points as the Spurs outscored the Clippers 25-22 to trail 42-39 at halftime. Duncan didn’t make his first basket until nearly halfway through the period and then he followed by firing off a pass to Leonard, who dunked on the fast break. The Spurs went from shooting 23 percent in the first to 54 percent in the second.
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