• Spurs speed away from Clippers to remain unbeaten at home

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    Kawhi Leonard No.2 of the San Antonio Spurs talks with head coach Gregg Popovich at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. AFP PHOTO

    Kawhi Leonard No.2 of the San Antonio Spurs talks with head coach Gregg Popovich at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. AFP PHOTO

    Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points and led five San Antonio players in double figures on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) as the Spurs turned a tight NBA game into a 108-87 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers.

    San Antonio led by just one point going into the fourth quarter, but pulled away relentlessly to notch their 33rd home win of the season and their 42nd straight regular-season victory on their home court in a streak dating back to last March.

    The Spurs, second to the streaking Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference, improved to 57-10.

    The Spurs’ home streak is the third longest in NBA history, behind Chicago’s 44-game regular-season run in 1995-96 and the continuing streak by Golden State that now stands at 49 games.

    “It is amazing, and not even just the home records,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before the game of the Warriors and Spurs. “Just their records. I think we’re all focused on their home records, which, they are amazing.

    “But when you think about both of their records in general, it’s amazing.”

    The Clippers looked far from intimidated, however, as they built an early 10-6 lead and led 21-19 at the end of the first.

    San Antonio’s bench put together a 13-1 scoring run that pushed the Spurs ahead in the second and San Antonio took a 48-44 lead into halftime.

    The third quarter was a back and forth battle, the Clippers re-taking the lead for the first time since the first quarter before the Spurs regained the advantage with a jump shot from the baseline by Kyle Anderson as the period ended.

    The Spurs took a 71-70 lead into the fourth and pulled away from there.

    Overall the Spurs reserves out-scored the Clippers bench 51-20.

    Backup David West had all eight of his points in the fourth-quarter, and Australian Patty Mills came off the bench to score seven of his 15 in the final frame.

    Mills said it was a matter of “wearing them down throughout the game and understanding that if we stick to the game plan, eventually they’ll get tired.”

    Raptors bounce back
    Kyle Lowry scored 25 points and passed out 11 assists for the Toronto Raptors, who bounced back from a tough loss to the Chicago Bulls with a 107-89 victory over the Bucks in Milwaukee.

    Lowry poured in 20 points in the first half to help the Raptors take a 52-49 lead at the interval.

    Toronto opened the third quarter with an 8-0 scoring run and connected on 60 percent of their shots from the field to take an 81-66 advantage into the final frame.

    The victory, on the heels of a two-point defeat at Chicago that snapped Toronto’s three-game winning streak, saw the Raptors edge closer to Eastern Conference leaders Cleveland on a night when the Cavaliers were idle.

    In Indianapolis, Paul George scored 25 points and the Indiana Pacers pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 103-98 victory over the Boston Celtics.

    Two free throws from George Hill with 7:43 remaining launched a 6-0 Pacers scoring run and Indiana wouldn’t look back.

    Bogdanovic breaks out
    Croatian forward Bojan Bogdanovic scored a career-high 44 points to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 131-114 victory over the lowly Philadelphia 76ers.

    Bogdanovic surpassed his prior career high of 28 points set against Orlando last April.

    His total was the most for a Nets player since Deron Williams scored 57 on March 4, 2012, and the most by any Nets player since the team moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 campaign.

    AFP

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