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Paul George recorded 33 points and seven rebounds and Kawhi Leonard added 30 points and eight boards to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a wire-to-wire 131-122 victory over the host Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night (Thursday, January 4, Manila time).
James Harden had 22 points and 11 assists for Los Angeles, which has won 13 of its past 15 games. The Clippers have won each of the last 11 games played by Leonard.
Devin Booker had 35 points and six assists and Bradley Beal scored 21 points for the Suns, whose four-game win streak ended. Eric Gordon had 16 points and fellow reserve Bol Bol added a season-best 14 for Phoenix.
Suns star Kevin Durant (hamstring) missed his second straight game.
Phoenix trailed by 23 with a little more than five minutes left in the third quarter before whittling its deficit to 129-122 on a 3-pointer by Grayson Allen with 58.1 seconds left.
But Los Angeles sealed the win when Terance Mann collected an offensive rebound and fed Norman Powell for a layup with 18.6 seconds to play.
Powell scored 13 points and Mann added 12 points for Los Angeles, which shot 55.3 percent from the floor, including a solid 18 of 34 from 3-point range. George made five treys while Leonard and Harden had four apiece.
Phoenix made 53.2 percent of its attempts and was 15 of 35 from behind the arc. Allen added 10 points and two steals.
A 3-pointer by Booker allowed the Suns to creep within 116-108 with 6:15 left in the game.
Booker’s basket 62 seconds later again moved Phoenix within eight. However, Powell knocked down a 3-pointer and Leonard made two free throws to give the Clippers a 123-110 advantage with 3:20 to play.
Later, Harden drained a straightaway 3-pointer to give Los Angeles a 128-117 lead with 1:41 remaining before Phoenix made one last push.
Los Angeles started fast and led 30-13 with 3:18 left in the first quarter after George’s basket capped an 11-0 spurt.
George had 17 in a quarter that ended with the Clippers leading 35-20. Neither Leonard nor Harden scored in the first 12 minutes.
Leonard had 12 points in the second quarter to help Los Angeles lead 70-51 at the break. George had 21 points in the half for the Clippers and Beal scored 13 before the break to lead Phoenix.
The Los Angeles lead was 90-67 after Leonard made two free throws just past the midway point of the third quarter. The Suns were able to move within 107-91 entering the fourth quarter. – Rappler.com