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Spurs seek another sweep in Game 4 against Clippers

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The Sports Network
5/20/2012 11:33:01 AM
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(Sports Network) - If the Los Angeles Clippers have any "Star Trek" fans on the roster, they probably think they are playing The Borg right now.

And resistance truly is futile.

For those of you with lives, The Borg are a fictional race of cybernetic organisms depicted in the "Star Trek" universe that use assimilation as a means of "achieving perfection".

The San Antonio Spurs are the closest thing we've seen to basketball perfection in years and will be attempting to sweep the Clippers out of the playoffs tonight in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Asked to describe his team's current 17-game winning streak after an impressive 96-86 comeback win in Game 3 on Saturday, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was at a loss for words.

Clippers mentor Vinny Del Negro fared better, saying how difficult it's been to beat a team that moves the ball so well and can score so many different ways.

"There's a lot of things that make it hard," Del Negro said.

Most of them showed up during a 24-0 run Saturday afternoon that has the Spurs on the brink of the West Finals.

Tim Duncan scored nine of his 19 points during the third-quarter spurt and San Antonio held on for the victory from there, taking a 3-0 series lead over the Clippers. No NBA team has ever come back from 0-3 to win a seven-game series.

The Spurs climbed all the way out of a 24-point hole in the second quarter in Game 3 to remain unbeaten for more than five weeks. The massive run in the third punctuated an overall burst of 53-17 in about 19 minutes.

"The third quarter jumped on us," Del Negro said. "They moved the ball well like they usually do and picked us apart."

Tony Parker scored 23 points to lead the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard had 13 and Manu Ginobili added 13 off the bench. Parker had 10 assists and Duncan collected 13 rebounds.

Blake Griffin, despite playing with a sprained right knee and sore left hip, had

"We have to find a way to play better down the stretch," said Griffin. "Our backs are against the wall. If we don't play with a sense of urgency, it's not going to be pretty.

"We knew they were going to make a run. We did a poor job of responding. We know we can beat them but we have to execute."

The Clippers went 0-for-12 during the eight-minute hiccup in the third between Griffin's layup at 9:39 and Williams' floater at 1:26. The final tally was a 26-8 San Antonio third quarter for a 69-61 lead going into the fourth.

LA never got closer than seven in the fourth quarter. It was an eight-point game before Parker knocked down a 3 from the left corner with 4:27 remaining and Duncan found Boris Diaw underneath for a 13-point lead moments later.

"That first quarter I think we all felt bad out there," said Duncan. "But we stuck with it."

"We have a lot of experience," added Parker. "After the first quarter, we didn't panic. We stayed calm. It's a long game."

Game 4 will end a marathon weekend for the Staples Center and its staff. The arena, also home to the Lakers and the NHL's Kings, will have hosted six playoff games in four days.

The Spurs haven't lost since April 11 to the Lakers and their 7-0 record in the playoffs includes a sweep of Utah in the first round.

San Antonio took two of three from the Clippers during the regular season in 2011-12. The lone L.A. win came in the Alamo City on March 9 when the Clips halted 17-game skid in the Alamo City but Popovich rested Duncan, Parker and Ginobili in that contest.

These two clubs have never met in the postseason previously.

Game 5, if necessary, will be Tuesday in San Antonio.

Tony Parker (Photo: Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)
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