San Antonio, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - A late offensive goaltending call went the Clippers' way Thursday and helped set up a decisive battle in Los Angeles.
Blake Griffin totaled 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, and the Clippers beat the Spurs in San Antonio 102-96 to avoid elimination and extend what has turned into a thrilling first-round Western Conference series.
"This series should go seven. It's right," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Chris Paul recorded his second straight double-double with 19 points and 15 assists, DeAndre Jordan put up his usual 15 points and 14 rebounds, and J.J. Redick chimed in with 19 points for the victors.
An already action-packed sports Saturday featuring the Kentucky Derby and Mayweather-Pacquiao megafight gets a Spurs-Clippers winner-take-all Game 7.
The defending-champion Spurs had won their last seven potential closeout games at home but allowed the Clippers to shoot 47.5 percent from the floor and were outscored 18-2 in fastbreak points.
"We should be embarrassed about how we came out for a closeout game," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is 3-2 all-time in Game 7s. "We lost because the Clippers were physical, focused and played harder than we did."
Marco Belinelli stayed out of Popovich's dog house, pouring in 23 points on 7- of-11 shooting from behind the arc. Tim Duncan added 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Boris Diaw scored 17 points off the bench.
Kawhi Leonard, the reigning NBA Finals MVP, scored 12 points but missed 12 shots, including a potential tying 3-pointer in the final minute.
Paul, who shot 7-of-14 from the floor in the second half after being held without a field goal in the first, followed Leonard's miss with a clutch floater for a 98-93 lead.
Jamal Crawford followed a Belinelli 3 with two free throws, and Belinelli appeared to make another one from long range when Griffin was originally called for goaltending. Upon review, however, the officials ruled Diaw touched the ball inside the cylinder, and the violation essentially ended any chance of a miracle comeback.
There was a bit of deja-vu from Game 5, as Jordan goaltended a potential go- ahead basket by Griffin in the final minute. The Spurs went on to win 111-107.
Both the first and second quarters ended in a tie despite big momentum swings.
Redick's 12 first-quarter points staked the Clippers to an early seven-point lead, and the Spurs ended the frame on a 9-2 run to even things.
Belinelli connected on three consecutive 3s in the early stages of the second, including a leaner from the top of the key, and a Diaw layup near the midway point gave San Antonio a 45-35 cushion.
The Clippers erased the deficit in less than five minutes, and it was a 51-51 game at halftime despite LA going 1-for-11 from 3-point range and the Spurs hitting 7-of-15 from deep.
An 11-2 run to start the third, with six points coming from Griffin, gave the Clippers a lead it never relinquished. The Spurs pulled even late in the quarter, but a Paul jumper and Glen Davis dunk in the final minute gave LA a slim 76-72 advantage.
LA's largest lead in the fourth was seven.
The Spurs also went the distance in their first-round series against the Mavericks last year ... The Clippers are 2-2 all-time in Game 7s ... Davis was wheeled into the locker room after appearing to injure his leg early in the fourth quarter ... Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for just 11 points on 5-of-18 shooting for the Spurs.