Los Angeles, CA – Chris Paul may have been named All-Star Game MVP last weekend, but Tony Parker reminded the league why he should be considered for the top individual award at season's end in leading the San Antonio Spurs to an impressive 116-90 annihilation of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
The Spurs dropped their first two meetings versus the Clippers in November, and Parker netted a combined 11 points while being outplayed by Paul in both.
Thursday's showdown between two of the top three teams in the Western Conference was dramatically different, as Parker scored 31 points on 12-of-16 shooting to go with seven assists and no turnovers in a runaway win that improved the Spurs to 6-1 on their nine-game rodeo road trip.
"It's not just me, it's the whole team," Parker said. "The whole team played well. It was a great win for us and we are trying to stay on top of the standings."
San Antonio shot 59 percent from the field and got contributions throughout their lineup. Danny Green chipped in 15 points and seven assists, while Tiago Splitter and Manu Ginobili netted 10 points apiece for the victors.
Matt Barnes scored 18 points and Blake Griffin logged 17 points and eight rebounds, but Paul had more personal fouls (five) than points (four) for Los Angeles, which had won four in a row prior to the midseason hiatus.
"You've got to be better mentally," Griffin admitted. "They're the best team in the league for a reason and we didn't come out and put up the fight that we needed to."
The Clippers' rust showed throughout, especially early on when the Spurs broke a 17-17 tie by scoring 12 straight points -- seven coming from Ginobili.
San Antonio made 66 percent of its shots in the opening quarter and extended its 34-21 lead in the second, going up by as many as 17, 53-36, following Parker's three-point play with 4:03 on the clock.
The Clippers found themselves down, 58-43, at the break, and missed 13 straight shots over a 10-minute span before Caron Butler got a floater to fall with 4:46 remaining in the third quarter.
By that point the Spurs were on top by a comfortable 77-51 margin, and the fourth quarter saw both teams empty their benches.
All 13 Spurs players scored at least two points ... The Spurs had 30 assists on 43 made field goals ... Tim Duncan added nine points and five boards for the Spurs, but had his consecutive games streak of at least one blocked shot end at 31 ... The Clippers have lost their last five games immediately following the All-Star break ... The Clippers shot 5-of-16 from 3-point range after hitting 16 from long range in their win over the Lakers last Thursday ... The season series finale takes place in San Antonio on March 29.