Spurs aim to make some stops

San An­to­nio says its de­fense was the big­gest prob­lem in 15-point loss to Clip­pers in Game 1.

Los Angeles Times - - NBA - By Brod­er­ick Turner brod­er­ick.turner@la­times.com Twit­ter: @BA_Turner

The San An­to­nio Spurs re­grouped Tues­day, gath­er­ing to prac­tice at Santa Mon­ica High af­ter los­ing Game 1 of their play­off se­ries to the Clip­pers.

Spurs starters Tony Parker and Ti­ago Split­ter have nag­ging in­juries, but the big­gest prob­lem was the team’s de­fense in the 107-92 de­feat on Sun­day night.

“The of­fense was re­ally not the prob­lem. We got shots. We just didn’t make them,” said Parker, who de­clared him­self fit af­ter suf­fer­ing a twisted left an­kle and bruised left thigh in Game 1.

“It was de­fen­sively. We can’t let them score 107. We have to find ways to cut that num­ber down.”

The Spurs fin­ished the regular sea­son ranked thirdbest in the NBA in points al­lowed at 97.0 per game.

But the Spurs couldn’t stop the Clip­pers, who shot 51.3% from the field, 55.6% (10 for 18) from the three-point line, while get­ting 23 fast­break points. Blake Grif­fin also threw down sev­eral em­phatic dunks.

“De­fen­sively, we thought we were not very good,” for­ward Tim Dun­can said. “A lot of mis­takes, a lot of tran­si­tion points. A lot of turnovers that turned into points for them. So there are things that we can clean up.”

On of­fense, the Spurs shot just 36.6% from the field, 30.3% from three-point range. But play­ers said they had open looks, the shots just didn’t fall.

Hav­ing a health­ier and more in-sync Split­ter on de­fense in Game 2 Wed­nes­day night at Sta­ples Cen­ter is what the Spurs are count­ing on.

Split­ter played nine min­utes 57 sec­onds in the first game — his time split be­tween the first and third quar­ters — and the cen­ter had four points and three re­bounds.

Split­ter missed the last six regular-sea­son games be­cause of the calf in­jury.

“He didn’t go back­wards, so that’s a good thing,” Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich said. “Maybe he can play a few more min­utes [Wed­nes­day] night. I’m hop­ing.”

Said Parker: “Ti­ago is a big piece of what we’re do­ing. So hope­fully he can play a lit­tle bit more to­mor­row. We def­i­nitely need him.”

As for Parker, his an­kle and thigh are “a lit­tle bit bet­ter.”

The two days off be­tween games have helped the point guard. “When I looked at the sched­ule, it was like, ‘Aw, [the se­ries is] go­ing to be longer.’ Now I’m very happy we have an ex­tra day,” Parker said. “That will def­i­nitely help to­mor­row.”

‘De­fen­sively, we thought we were not very good. A lot of mis­takes, a lot of tran­si­tion points. A lot of turnovers that turned into points for them. So there are things that we can clean up.’

— Tim Dun­can,

Spurs for­ward

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