The San Antonio Spurs saw their lead over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night dissipate in the second quarter behind strong play from the Clippers’ big guns. However it wasn’t until the third quarter when one of the NBA’s best in the Spurs started to really feel some ill effects from the contest.
In the third quarter, Spurs point guard Tony Parker injured his shin and was forced to leave the game. Soon after coming off of the floor it was announced that he would not return against the Clips. Though San Antonio kept it close in the third, getting beat by just one point in the period, the Clippers blew it wide open in the fourth as they eventually handed the Spurs a handy 115-92 loss.
With Parker out of commission for the night, the Spurs had to look to their bench guards for help, with a lot of the minutes in Parker’s absence going to Cory Joseph, with Patty Mills also running the show as well. The Spurs’ offense took a slight dip with Joseph, but it was defensively where the Spurs were really hit hard in Parker’s absence.
With their star guard out, the Spurs weren’t able to contain Chris Paul and the results showed. Paul was dicing up the defense and making scoring opportunities for his team seemingly whenever he pleased. Probably the most telling play for the mismatch between Paul and the Spurs’ backups was in the fourth quarter when Joseph was trying to body up Paul and Paul simply threw up a lackadaisical shot to draw a foul and get two freebies.
This Spurs team without Parker simply isn’t the same. Though Tim Duncan has come on as of late and though Manu Ginobili has turned back the clock a bit this year, this team thrives off of Parker’s performance. His injury right now is being called just a bruised right shin, which doesn’t sound like anything lingering or that will keep him out for an extended period of time. However, the Spurs will need him back as soon as possible if they want to keep rolling at this point in the year.