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Spurs 89, Clippers 85

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LOS ANGELES — Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, rallying the San Antonio Spurs to an 89-85 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night at the Staples Center.

Forward Tim Duncan finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds as the Spurs (3-3) ended a two-game skid. Forward Blake Griffin paced the Clippers (4-3), who lost for the second time in three games, with 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Point guard Chris Paul just missed a triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Paul’s bucket in the lane boosted the Clippers to a 82-75 lead with 5:49 left in the game, but they failed to get another field goal. Duncan scored twice and added two free throws with 2:13 remaining to cut the deficit to 82-81.

Leonard’s layup gave San Antonio its first lead with 1:44 left. After a Clippers turnover, forward Boris Diaw nailed a runner for a three-point Spurs lead. Guard Manu Ginobili scored inside for an 87-82 advantage with 32.8 seconds remaining.

However, Ginobili fouled forward Jamal Crawford on a 3-point attempt and the Clippers forward converted all three free throws with 25.8 seconds left, pulling Los Angeles within 87-85.

After Ginobili missed two free throws that would have clinched the deal with 11.3 seconds left, Paul blew a layup with 2.9 seconds left. Griffin got the ball in a scramble under the basket, and the Clippers called timeout, but had none left.

Parker missed the technical foul free throw with 1.4 seconds remaining, but Leonard hit two free throws to cap the scoring.

Crawford’s 3-pointer gave the Clippers a 40-31 lead with 3:44 left in the second quarter. However, an 8-0 spurt by the Spurs after Leonard converted a jump hook pulled San Antonio with one. A putback by forward Glen Davis gave Los Angeles a 42-39 advantage at intermission.

NOTES: Spurs F Kawhi Leonard continues to battle conjunctivitis, resulting in blurred vision in his right eye. “It’s been tough on him,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He hasn’t really had a preseason because of it, and he still can’t see out of one of his eyes very well. It’s been a very strange infection. He’s slowly getting into shape and starting to get a rhythm, but he needs a few more weeks before he’s the guy we saw in the (NBA) finals.” … San Antonio C Tiago Splitter, who didn’t play, visited a Los Angeles back specialist for a nerve problem on Monday, but Popovich said he was unaware of the examination’s results. … Clippers reserve C Spencer Hawes remains troubled by a foot ailment. … NBA commissioner Adam Silver attended the game.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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