LOS ANGELES (AP)Dejounte Murray delivered his third triple-double in five games with 24 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-92 on Monday night.
Jakob Poeltl added 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Doug McDermott scored 16 points as the Spurs improved to 2-1 on their four-game road trip. Murray also had a triple-double in a victory Friday at Utah and now has six triple-doubles on the season.
”I take pride in being a pass-first guy, knowing that I can score, knowing that I can get shots” said Murray, who recorded assists on the first three Spurs possessions of the second half and had five of his 13 assists in the third quarter. ”For me, it’s just getting that balance now and it will come over time.”
Paul George had 25 points for the Clippers after missing the previous five games with a sprained right elbow. Ivica Zubac added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles, while Terance Mann had 11 points as the Clippers lost for the third consecutive time.
San Antonio had little trouble knocking off the Clippers, just over a month after a 106-92 loss to them, also at Los Angeles. The Spurs won their sixth game on the road, matching their number of home victories.
Murray helped the Spurs take control early with eight points in the first quarter and 17 at halftime as San Antonio took a 62-48 lead. San Antonio pushed the advantage past the 20-point mark at 79-58 on a 3-pointer by Keldon Johnson with 5:02 remaining in the third quarter and led 101-71 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
”We stayed consistent to the game plan with how we were supposed to play on the defensive end,” Murray said. ”We know what they are capable of doing and we tried to make it uncomfortable for 48 minutes.”
Johnson finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Derrick White had 15 points for San Antonio. The Spurs outrebounded Los Angeles 67-43, while holding a 68-44 advantage in points in the paint.
”We have to rebound the basketball,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. ”It’s not going to be on the bigs a lot of times. They have to do a good job of rebounding, but our guards have to do a better job as well. The last four or five games it’s been the guards sneaking in, grabbing rebounds.”
Despite George’s return, the Clippers lacked offensive flow without Marcus Morris Sr., who was missing his second consecutive game in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Morris had scored at least 20 points in five of his last seven games.
”Tonight, I don’t think we fought, scrapped,” Lue said. ”It was too easy for (the Spurs), their pace, the way they play. Their drive and kicks, they were able to get by us and get into the paint and create confusion. We have to be better with that.”
Spurs: The 27 points by the Clippers in the first quarter was the first time in four games San Antonio did not allow at least 37 in the opening period. . McDermott was back in the starting lineup after missing Sunday’s game at Sacramento because of a tooth infection. . Coach Gregg Popovich reiterated that F Zach Collins will be back at some point after Christmas following foot surgery in the offseason, but could not narrow down a return timetable. Collins has started on-court work but has not resumed practicing with the team.
Clippers: George was not the only player to return as C Serge Ibaka came back from health and safety protocols after missing the previous five games and not playing since Dec. 6. Ibaka had four points in 22 minutes. . Backup C Isaiah Hartenstein was not available because of an ankle injury that occurred late in Saturday’s game at Oklahoma City.
Spurs: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
Clippers: At the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.