NBA regular season

George, Leonard lead way as Clippers beat Blazers for 5th win in 6 games


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George, Leonard lead way as Clippers beat Blazers for 5th win in 6 games

CONVINCING WIN. Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers coast to victory.

Jaime Valdez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Clippers move within a half-game of the fourth-place Suns in the Western Conference behind Paul George and Kawhi Leonard

Paul George recorded 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals, and Kawhi Leonard added 24 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 117-102 victory over the host Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, March 19 (Monday, March 20, Manila time).

Eric Gordon had 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting off the bench and Ivica Zubac added 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Clippers won for the fifth time in six games. Los Angeles (38-34) moved within a half-game of the fourth-place Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference.

Jusuf Nurkic registered 23 points and 11 rebounds for Portland, while Damian Lillard scored 21 points to top 20 for the 31st consecutive regular-season contest. Lillard also had 9 assists and 7 rebounds but was just 4 of 17 from the field.

Anfernee Simons added 16 points and Trendon Watford had 12 for Portland (31-40), which has dropped six straight games and 11 of its past 14. The Trail Blazers are 3 1/2 games behind the final two play-in berths in the West.

Simons hit a three-pointer and Nurkic made two free throws as Portland crept within 101-95 with 7:59 remaining.

A short time later, Leonard buried a three-pointer to make it 111-99 with 4:50 left. George made two free throws with 2:02 left to cap the scoring.

The Clippers shot 45.7% from the field and knocked down 12 of 28 three-point attempts, including four makes from Gordon. Russell Westbrook was just 3 of 12 from the field and narrowly missed a triple-double 9 nine points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Drew Eubanks and Shaedon Sharpe added 10 points apiece for Portland, which made 45.1% of its attempts and was 6 of 29 from behind the arc. Lillard was just 1 of 8 from long range.

Portland trailed by four with less than 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter before Gordon drained three treys during a span of 2:19 to give Los Angeles an 89-79 lead. The Clippers led 93-83 entering the final stanza.

Leonard scored 13 first-half points as the Clippers led 59-55 at the break. Nurkic had 15 in the half for Portland.

Los Angeles scored 12 straight points in the opening quarter to take a 30-15 lead. The Trail Blazers rallied to trail 36-30 at the end of the period and later caught the Clippers at 44 on Watford’s basket with 7:02 left in the half. –

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