SAN ANTONIO – The emergence of Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge has made the San Antonio Spurs less reliant on their bench than in previous years.
But the Los Angeles Clippers learned San Antonio’s reserves can still be potent.
Leonard had 20 points and the Spurs wore down the short-handed Clippers 108-87 on Tuesday night to match the second-longest home winning streak to open a season in NBA history.
Aldridge added 17 points for San Antonio, which has won four straight.
“With us, when Kawhi is on the court or Kawhi and LaMarcus (it changes the game),” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “Today (the bench) could change the game at that point, and it makes us feel good.”
San Antonio won its 33rd straight home game this season, tying Orlando’s start to the 1995-96 season. The Chicago Bulls set the league mark with a 37-game home winning streak to begin that same season during their record 72-victory campaign.
The Clippers’ reserves, who were without injured Paul Pierce, were outscored 51-20 by the Spurs’ bench.
“The first unit did everything in their power,” Los Angeles guard Austin Rivers said. “Our second unit, we didn’t play well tonight. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s disappointing because obviously everybody in the second unit feels like it’s our fault. Whether that’s true or not, that’s the way we feel.”
Los Angeles (42-24), still missing Blake Griffin, lost its second straight despite getting 67 points from its starters. Chris Paul scored 22 and DeAndre Jordan had 16 points and 14 rebounds.
The Clippers had won three of their four regular-season games against the Spurs. Los Angeles also took two of three in San Antonio to beat the Spurs in a seven-game series to open the playoffs last year.
San Antonio’s bench ensured a continuation of the team’s home winning streak, which is now at 42 games dating to March 2015.
Patty Mills had 15 points and Ginobili added 13 off the bench for the Spurs (57-10).
Backup David West tipped in missed shots on successive possessions and then delivered a hard screen on Rivers that freed Mills for a jumper from the top of the key for an 82-72 lead with 9 minutes remaining. West finished with eight points.
“Dave was a big-time spark off the bench,” Aldridge said. “I thought Patty brought some juice and some energy to us tonight, too. They definitely carried us down the stretch.”
San Antonio needed that production to counter Paul, who continued to confound and frustrate the Spurs on both ends. Paul had 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting and dished out eight assists.
Raptors 107, Bucks 89
In Milwaukee, Kyle Lowry scored 25 points and Toronto, despite resting leading scorer DeMar DeRozan, had no trouble with the Bucks.
DeRozan, who averages 23.8 points per game, was in uniform but didn’t play after starting each of the team’s first 65 games and playing 39 minutes in a loss to Chicago on Monday night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 18 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in 35 minutes for Milwaukee, just missing a triple-double.
Pacers 103, Celtics 98
In Indianapolis, Paul George had 25 points and the Pacers finished with a strong fourth quarter to beat Boston.
Monta Ellis added 16 points with six assists, and Jordan Hill scored 15 for Indiana.
Magic 116, Nuggets 110
In Orlando, Evan Fournier scored 30 points and Jason Smith had 25 points and 13 rebounds off the bench to help the Magic beat Denver.
Victor Oladipo scored 23 for Orlando, which led by 18 in the third quarter before fending off Denver’s second-half rally. Brandon Jennings added 12 points and 11 assists in his first start for the Magic.
Nets 131, 76ers 114
In New York, Bojan Bogdanovic scored a career-best 44 points and Brooklyn set a season high for points against Philadelphia.
Sean Kilpatrick had 19 points, Brook Lopez added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Thaddeus Young finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Nets.
Kings 106, Lakers 98
In Los Angeles, Darren Collison had 22 points in his ninth start of the season, DeMarcus Cousins also scored 22 and Sacramento completed a four-game season sweep of the Lakers.
Los Angeles, which trailed by as many as 23, got as close as 97-91 on a pair of free throws by Julius Randle that capped a 15-5 run with 3:14 to play. Rudy Gay clinched it for the Kings by scoring seven of his 20 points in the final 2:57.
Kobe Bryant sat out for the Lakers.