(SportsNetwork.com) - The defending champion San Antonio Spurs will shoot for a commanding lead Sunday afternoon when they welcome the Los Angeles Clippers to the AT&T Center for Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
The Spurs lead 2-1 after an overtime road win in Game 2 in LA, then an impressive home showing Friday night in San Antonio. The Spurs demolished the Clips, 100-73.
Kawhi Leonard picked up his Defensive Player of the Year award before the game, then showed everyone why he's going to be a wealthy young man this summer. The free agent-to-be showed his incredible all-around game with a career-high 32 points in less than 29 minutes and he anchored an incredible defensive effort.
Leonard showcased his two-way dominance from the opening tip. He finished 13- of-18 shooting with three steals and two blocks, playing less than two minutes in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand.
"He puts the effort in, he puts the work in," said Tim Duncan. "I think he came out here tonight to say he's more than just a defender."
Boris Diaw chipped in 15 points and six rebounds off the bench to make up for the relative lack of production from Duncan, who scored 28 points to carry the Spurs to their overtime win in Game 2. The two-time MVP was quiet in this one, netting just four points on 2-of-6 shooting.
The Clippers, who shot 34.1 percent as a team, finished with a playoff franchise low in points and field goal percentage.
Blake Griffin was the lone bright spot with 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Chris Paul was limited to seven points and committed six turnovers, but perhaps the bigger issue for LA was the lack of production from its reserves. Jamal Crawford's 1-for-11 highlighted an abysmal night for the Clippers reserves, who contributed just 30 points on 41 shots.
Leonard finished the first half with 16 points, none bigger than his one- handed alley-oop on a feed from Danny Green. That flush highlighted a 9-0 run, which Leonard capped with his coast-to-coast layup.
The Spurs led 46-38 at halftime and looked to put the game away early in the third. Leonard took it upon himself to make sure that was the case. He scored 11 on 5-of-5 shooting in less than five minutes out of the break. His triple at 7:23 capped a 13-5 push that made it 59-43.
"Kawhi jumped on us," said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. "I thought he, at the start of the third quarter, changed the game."
The Spurs have won 10 in a row at home, but are a championship team which stays grounded.
"They couldn't throw it in the ocean tonight, and we were hotter than heck," said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. "But it doesn't mean anything."
Game 5 will be Tuesday night back in Los Angeles.