NBA regular season

Kawhi returns as Clippers cut down Pistons 


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Kawhi returns as Clippers cut down Pistons 

BACK IN ACTION. Clippers star Kawhi Leonard controls the ball against Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic during the first half.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Playing just his third game this season, Kawhi Leonard sees action for 25 minutes after missing the last 12 outings due to residual knee soreness from his ACL surgery

Reggie Jackson scored 23 points, Marcus Morris Sr. and Paul George added 16 each, and the Los Angeles Clippers welcomed back Kawhi Leonard by rallying for a 96-91 victory over the visiting Detroit Pistons  on Thursday, November 17 (Friday, November 18, Manila time).

Norman Powell scored 14 points and Ivica Zubac tied a career-high with 18 rebounds as the Clippers extended their winning streak over the Pistons to seven games.

Leonard played in just his third game this season, scoring 6 points in 25 minutes while making his first start. The five-time All-Star last played October 23. He had missed the last 12 games with residual knee soreness from ACL surgery in July 2021.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 26 points and Jaden Ivey added 18 as Detroit dropped a season-high sixth consecutive game. The Pistons are 1-8 since October 31.

Saddiq Bey tallied 11 points and 8 rebounds in his return to Detroit’s starting lineup. He was dropped to the second unit in a loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday but was back with the starters again after Isaiah Stewart came away with a sprained big toe.

With the Pistons leading 73-70 and 9:45 remaining, the Clippers brought back their entire starting five from the bench. 

A 13-4 run, capped by a three-pointer from Morris, gave Los Angeles an 83-77 lead with 6:25 remaining.

Leonard’s driving layup extended the advantage to 87-79 with 4:04 to play, and Los Angeles closed it out from there.

On a poor shooting night for both teams, the Pistons took a 23-15 lead after one quarter by holding the Clippers to 28.8% (6-of-21) in the opening 12 minutes. The Pistons led by 12 in the first half and took a 50-42 lead into the break.

The Clippers pushed in front 68-67 after three quarters with a 26-17 advantage in the third period. Both teams were shooting under 40% through three quarters. Los Angeles finished at 40.7% for the game; Detroit shot 37.5%. –

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