Kawhi Leonard scored a season-high 36 points, including 15 in the pivotal third quarter, as the visiting Los Angeles Clippers beat the San Antonio Spurs, 131-126, to snap a two-game losing streak on Friday, January 20 (Saturday, January 21, Manila time).
The Clippers trailed by 7 points at halftime but flipped the script behind Leonard in the third quarter to go up by 3 points.
San Antonio tied the game early in the final period but could never get over the hump as Los Angeles slowly pulled away with accurate shooting from beyond the arc and great defense over the final four minutes.
Norman Powell added 26 points for Los Angeles, which had seven players score in double figures. Paul George chipped in 16 points and 12 assists, Marcus Morris Sr. scored 15 points, and Ivica Zubac racked up 12 points and 16 rebounds.
Seven players scored in double figures for San Antonio, which was led by Keldon Johnson’s 23 points. Josh Richardson and Zach Collins had 17 points each, Jeremy Sochan 16, and Romeo Langford 13 as the Spurs lost for the sixth time in seven games.
The first quarter went back and forth with neither team leading by more than 6 points. San Antonio was up by 4 points after a three-pointer by Tre Jones at the 5:53 mark but the Clippers bounced back with a 7-0 run to go ahead 22-19.
Los Angeles pushed its lead to 31-25 after George’s three-pointer with 2:25 to play in the period and led 41-36 after the end of the quarter.
The Spurs leapfrogged to the front early in the second period and led 55-51 after a free throw by Jones with 5:59 left in the quarter. San Antonio led by 9 points until a jumper by Leonard at the buzzer brought the Clippers to within 72-65 at the break.
Langford led the Spurs with 11 points in the half, while Collins added 10 off the bench. The Spurs shot 66% from the floor before the break.
Leonard paced the Clippers with 15 points in the half, while Powell added 13 and Zubac had 11 rebounds.
Los Angeles rallied to tie the game at 90 on George’s reverse layup with four minutes left in the third quarter and Leonard completed the Clippers’ 10-0 run with a three-pointer with 3:33 to play in the period. – Rappler.com