SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers overcame a tough loss off the court with their fourth straight victory despite missing a big part of their bench.
Reggie Jackson scored 28 points, Paul George had 24 points and 13 rebounds and the short-handed Clippers rallied in the second half to beat the San Antonio Spurs 98-85 on Thursday night.
The victory came hours after the Clippers traded Lou Williams to the Atlanta Hawks for Rajon Rondo just hours before tipoff.
“It’s a tough loss, it hurts,” George said. “You hate to see these things happen. We’re going to miss Lou. The best way we can do this, to send him off well, is to go out and try to win it (all).”
They started that campaign by handing San Antonio its fourth straight loss, including the first three of a nine-game homestand. DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, and Dejounte Murray added 18 for the Spurs.
San Antonio was attempting to rebound from a 134-101 loss to Los Angeles on Wednesday night, but could not do so even with the Clippers missing five key players.
Los Angeles also was without Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley due to injury. Leonard and Morris were ruled out less than two hours prior to tipoff.
Terence Mann, who started in place of Leonard, had 10 points and 12 rebounds in 32 minutes.
Despite those absences, the Clippers led for much of the first half and recaptured the lead in the final minutes of the third quarter.
Los Angeles coach Tyronn Lue said he looked down at his bench during a sluggish start and told his assistants this is when he would want Williams.
“He’s going to be missed for everything he brought and not just basketball,” Lue said. “I just think he was a great person. That’s what I love the most. We all knew he was a great basketball player, but just him as a human being and what he stood for and how he always boosted the morale of the team with everyone around him. That’s what we are going to miss the most.”
Los Angeles held San Antonio to 30 points in the second half.
“We are not shooting well, obviously, and we started to turn it over a little bit, which kind of exacerbates the situation,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “But we are not getting 3s. In this league, you got to get ’em. And, overall, too many mental errors here and there.”
Lue said he is unsure if Rondo will join the starting unit or come off the bench once he joins the Clippers.
“We’ve got to get everybody together, get everyone healthy,” Lue said. “Just trying to see what works. It’s going to take some time. Just not sure right now.”
While Mann is sad to lose Williams, he said he is excited to play alongside Rondo. Mann carries Rondo’s rookie card in his wallet at all times. Mann was given the card the same day he was named to the A team on his travel team, so he considers Rondo’s rookie card a good-luck charm.
The Spurs held a moment of silence for former coach Stan Albeck. He died Thursday at the age of 89.
“Coach Albeck wasn’t just important to the Spurs, he was what I call a lifer,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “People like myself don’t come close to loving the game the way he did.”
Albeck coached San Antonio from 1980 to 1983. He also had head coaching stops with Chicago, Cleveland, New Jersey and the ABA’s Denver Rockets.
Clippers: Leonard and Morris were not listed on the team’s injury report prior to the game. Leonard sat out with a sore right foot and Morris had a bruised right calf. … Using an eight-man rotation, Los Angeles got 19 points from reserves Nicolas Batum, Luke Kennard and Amir Coffey. … Clippers are 8-0 in the second game of a back-to-back this season.
Spurs: San Antonio announced it reached a buyout with forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge appeared in 376 games for the Spurs, averaging 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.25 blocks. … San Antonio acquired Marquese Chriss and cash from Golden State for the rights to Cady Lalanne. Popovich said the deal was a “money transaction” since Chriss has a fractured leg and his contract expires after this season.
Clippers: Host Philadelphia on Saturday.
Spurs: Host Chicago on Saturday.