On Monday night, Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 132-127. It was their fourth straight win.
For the Clippers, Paul George scored 20 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and gave out 8 assists. James Harden scored 20 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and gave out 7 assists. LA is now 9-3 after a season-worst six-game losing streak. Ivica Zubac got 18 points.
Leonard has scored 75 points in the past two games.
Coach Tyronn Lue of the Clippers said, “The most important thing is getting healthy and finally getting into a rhythm with PG and James starting.”
Another player who didn’t play for Portland was Malcolm Brogdon, who missed his second straight game. Both have pain in their right knee.
A season-high 38 points were scored by Anfernee Simons, and Shaedon Sharpe added 27 for the Blazers. They lost their eighth straight home game against the West.
Lue said, “I knew it was going to be a tough game for us.” “We couldn’t get stops on defence.” In every way, they scored.
At the free throw line, Simons made 13 shots, which is the most in his career. It was his fourth game of the season. After losing 18 games because of a torn ligament in his right thumb, he came back last week.
They made 19 3-pointers, which was the most in the season. Sharpe had four and Simons had five.
Coach Chauncey Billups, who used to play for the Clippers, said, “Man, we played good.” “We still scrape no matter what.”
After being behind by six points, Sharpe’s basket gave Portland its first lead of the fourth, 121–120.
Both teams had one-point leads at different times. Terance Mann made two free throws to put the Clippers ahead 124–123. Leonard made two more free throws, giving the team a five-point lead. George scored.
And George fouled Simons. Simons made both shots to bring the Blazers within three points with 16 seconds left. Portland was behind 130–127 after Simons’ dunk, but George made two free throws to seal the win.
Leonard said, “All I care about is that my team is in a good rhythm.” “The ball found me tonight, and I made shots.”
They went on a 12–5 run at the end of the third quarter to take a 105–99 lead.
During the quarter, the Blazers made 10 3-pointers, including five straight to start. However, they never had a bigger lead than five points. During the Clippers’ run that put them back in charge, Russell Westbrook scored seven straight points.
In the second, Portland came back from being down by 10 points to take the lead for the first time. With an 8-0 run finished by a basket by former Clipper Moses Brown, Portland took the lead. With George’s score, the Clippers were ahead 66–65 at the break.
With Zubac’s 14 points, the Clippers took 79% of their shots in the first quarter and built a 14-point lead.