Terance Mann and Paul George each scored 26 points as the visiting Los Angeles Clippers earned a 116-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns, who were likely playing their last game before Kevin Durant makes his debut with the team.
Kawhi Leonard added 16 points after not scoring in the first half, while Ivica Zubac scored 13 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as the Clippers won for the fourth time in their last six games on Thursday, February 16 (Friday, February 17, Manila time).
Josh Okogie scored 24 points and Devin Booker added 19 for the Suns, who lost for just the second time in the past seven games. Terrence Ross contributed 16 points in 25 minutes during his Phoenix debut after his contract was bought out by the Orlando Magic on Sunday.
Deandre Ayton scored 18 points for the Suns. Chris Paul had 5 points and 11 assists, and his 4 steals moved him past Michael Jordan and into third place on the all-time NBA list with 2,515. Jordan had 2,514 thefts.
The game was the NBA’s last before the All-Star break, with Durant scheduled to play for the Suns when they resume play against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on February 24.
Durant, who is sidelined due to a knee injury, was acquired by Phoenix from the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team trade last week.
The Clippers led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter and held a 28-23 edge after the opening period. After Phoenix inched back in the second quarter, Los Angeles took a 54-52 lead into halftime.
After starting the game 0-for-9 from the field, Leonard made his first field goal with 4:01 left in the third quarter, and the Clippers were up 91-84 entering the final period. Leonard finished the third quarter with 11 points.
The Clippers grabbed a 103-93 lead with 7:06 remaining after two free throws from George, and the Suns never got closer than 5 points the rest of the way. Leonard sealed the victory on an emphatic dunk with 1:59 remaining and added a three-point play for a 116-105 lead with 57 seconds left.
Eric Gordon, Bones Hyland, and Mason Plumlee combined to score 28 points for the Clippers as each played in their second game with the team since they were acquired via trades last week. – Rappler.com
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