(Reuters) - San Antonio squashed some of the hype surrounding the revamped Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday with a 115-90 victory that lifted the Spurs to 2-0 in the new season.
A blockbuster trade for point guard Chris Paul, and the acquisition of starters Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler, created a buzz about the Clippers that only grew after their season-opening victory over Golden State on Sunday.
However, San Antonio brought them crashing back to Earth on Wednesday with Manu Ginobili scoring 24 points and DeJuan Blair adding 20. The Spurs shot 56 percent for the game.
San Antonio padded a four-point half-time lead into a 25-point advantage in the third, making 16-of-21 shots to add 38 to their tally. Tony Parker added 10 of his 14 points in the decisive quarter to go with his nine assists.
At the other end, San Antonio smothered Los Angeles during the second half where they held them to just 36 points.
"Tonight the best part of our game was our defense," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. "Shots went in tonight. Some nights they don't drop but the one thing you can control is your defensive intensity."
Blake Griffin led the Clippers (1-1) with 28 points and nine rebounds and four other Clippers finished in double digits, including Paul with 10.
But Los Angeles had trouble defending the wily Spurs who drained 10 three-pointers on the night, including five from Ginobili. Richard Jefferson also made three and finished with 19 points.
"They shot 52 percent from three, it's tough to win like that," Griffin said. "They hit some tough shots, you have to give it to them. We have to make sure we come out on our game after halftime."
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)