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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 27th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Clippers (18-54) at San Antonio Spurs (47-24), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs hope to build on their slim lead in the jumbled Southwest Division tonight when they host the hapless Los Angeles Clippers.

The Spurs, who lead idle Houston by a game in the division, will be shooting for their 12th straight overall win over the Clips and their 13th straight triumph over LA in the Alamo City. New Orleans is just 2 1/2 games back of San Antonio in the Southwest while fourth place Dallas is also within shouting distance at four games back.

San Antonio, minus All-Star Tim Duncan, is coming off an impressive road win in Atlanta on Wednesday when Tony Parker posted game-highs of 42 points and 10 assists, scoring 18 in the fourth quarter to help put the wraps on the Spurs' 102-92 triumph over the Hawks.

Roger Mason had 18 points and Michael Finley 13 for the Spurs, who won their second in a row.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich elected to rest Duncan but Manu Ginobili made his return to the hardwood after missing more than 1 1/2 months due to a nagging ankle injury. The Argentine standout logged a little more than 14 minutes of floor time after having not played since February 11. He was 1- of-7 from the floor, finishing with two points.

Duncan is expected to return to action tonight but fellow big man Fabricio Oberto will miss the team's next two games due to atrial fibrillation. Oberto felt abnormal sensations in his chest on Thursday and had an EKG, confirming he was experiencing atrial fibrillation. Oberto then underwent a cardioversion which restored his heart to its normal rhythm.

Over the next four days Oberto will receive daily EKG exams to confirm that his heart maintains its normal rhythm and, barring any unforeseen complications, is scheduled to be available for the Spurs-Thunder game on March 31.

The Clippers are just playing out the string in another disappointing season. The team did improve to 1-3 on a six-game road trip on Wednesday with an exciting overtime win at Madison Square Garden.

Mike Taylor had a career-high 35 points and keyed a crucial run in the extra frame, as history repeated itself in LA's 140-135 win over the New York Knicks.

In the teams' other meeting this season, on February 11, New York's Al Harrington earned a technical foul for pulling himself up on the rim after a dunk and slapping the backboard with both hands. The subsequent free throw allowed the game to go to overtime, with the Clippers winning 128-124.

On Wednesday, Harrington -- who tied a season-high with 38 points to lead the Knicks -- dunked with 27.9 seconds to play. It gave the Knicks a 127-124 lead, but again he was given a technical foul for pulling himself up and hanging on the rim.

Eric Gordon hit the free throw for LA, and Zach Randolph's two free throws on the Clippers' possession tied the game, sending it to overtime.

Randolph added 33 points for LA, while Al Thornton ended with 21 points and nine rebounds. Gordon scored 19 and Baron Davis finished with 13 points and six assists.

The Clippers, who are a miserable 8-28 on the road this season, have not won back-to-back games since February 23 and 25. LA will finish its road trip in Houston on Saturday.

03/27 13:35:23 ET


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