NBA regular season

Leonard, Mann lead Clippers’ blowout over Jalen Green-less Rockets

Reuters
Leonard, Mann lead Clippers’ blowout over Jalen Green-less Rockets

KLAWED. Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) is fouled by Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) as he drives to the basket in the first quarter at Crypto.com Arena

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports-Reuters

Kawhi Leonard and Terrence Mann each score 30 as the Los Angeles Clippers make quick work of the Houston Rockets missing their star back court of Kevin Porter, Jr. and Fil-Am Jalen Green

Kawhi Leonard and Terance Mann each eclipsed 30 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers turned a runaway fourth quarter into a 121-100 home victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

Mann scored 31 points, Leonard tallied 30, and both had six rebounds and four assists. They combined to shoot 24-for-40 from the field, including 8 of 13 from behind the arc, as the Clippers, who outscored Houston 30-10 in the fourth quarter, snapped a stretch of seven losses in eight games.

The Rockets suffered their 10th consecutive loss. Eric Gordon led Houston with 24 points while KJ Martin added 22 — with seven dunks — and nine rebounds. Alperen Sengun had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Rockets, who led by as many as eight before collapsing late.

Houston was without Kevin Porter Jr. (foot injury) and Jalen Green and Jae’Sean Tate (suspensions).

The Clippers took control early in the fourth quarter, responding to Tari Eason’s basket that tied the score at 92-92 with an 11-0 run keyed by a Robert Covington 3-pointer with 10:04 left.

Norman Powell (18 points), Covington, Reggie Jackson and Moses Brown scored in the paint over the ensuing two minutes as the Clippers took their first double-digit lead, one they did not give up.

The spirited third quarter featured nine lead changes and three ties. Leonard tallied 12 points in the back-and-forth period, and the Clippers benefited from six Houston turnovers that yielded seven points. The Rockets led by as many as eight points in the frame, but the Clippers led 91-90 after the quarter and seized control with their burst to open the final period.

Martin produced four dunks in the opening period for the Rockets, but it was Sengun’s push shot that gave Houston a 27-19 lead. Leonard replied with nine consecutive points for the Clippers, including three mid-range jumpers and a 3-pointer. When Covington nailed a 3 late in the first, the Clippers grabbed a 31-30 lead entering the second on the back of a 12-3 closing run.

The Clippers’ 3-point shooting kept them in the fray. Mann and Nicolas Batum sandwiched 3s around a trey from Sengun that helped Houston maintain a 45-42 lead. The Clippers pulled the same trick to close the half, as Powell and Mann buried 3s around another Martin dunk, with Mann beating the buzzer with a 49-footer that cut the Houston lead to 63-62 at intermission.

Houston had 44 points in the paint, but the Clippers countered by going 9-for-20 from deep in the half. – Rappler.com

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