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HomeUncategorizedPaul George, Kawhi Leonard drive thriving Clippers past Suns – Daily News

Paul George, Kawhi Leonard drive thriving Clippers past Suns – Daily News

<strong>By DAVID BRANDT</strong> AP Sports Writer</p>

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, during the postgame press conference, was still somewhat agitated, replaying in his mind how his team’s offense became stagnant in the final eight minutes against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.

The positive news for the Clippers is that the first 40 minutes were so exceptional that it didn’t really matter.

Paul George established 33 points, while Kawhi Leonard contributed 30 as the Clippers stretched their winning streak to four by overcoming the Suns, 131-122. The Clippers have secured victory in 13 of their last 15 games, while Phoenix had their four-game winning streak halted.

George was 8 for 14 from the field, making 5 of 10 from 3-point range. James Harden recorded 22 points and 11 assists.

The Clippers achieved a 55% field goal percentage and 53% from 3-point range – efficient statistics overall. Harden anticipates that this will become the standard as he continues to adapt to his new team following his trade from Philadelphia on Oct. 31.

“We still haven’t figured it out, as different teams defend us in different ways,” Harden stated. “Once we’ve encountered every defense, which probably won’t be until the end of the year, we’ll figure out how to attack.”

The Clippers seem to be quick learners, boasting an 18-5 record after commencing the season 3-7.

The Clippers maintained a comfortable lead for most of the second half, extending the advantage to 23 points midway through the third quarter, but the Suns launched a comeback in the fourth quarter, reducing the deficit to 118-110 with 5:13 remaining.

The Clippers’ Norman Powell responded with a crucial 3-pointer that helped them regain control. He contributed 13 points off the bench.

“It’s about making the right pass and the right play – that’s what we need to excel in,” Lue commented. “We want teams to double-team us with all the shooting we have, but we just didn’t handle it the right way.”

Devin Booker led the Suns with 35 points on 11-of-15 shooting, with Kevin Durant missing his second consecutive game due to soreness in his right hamstring. Bradley Beal added 21 points but only shot 7 for 20 and missed all six of his 3-point attempts. Bol Bol scored 14 points, including two 3-pointers.

“I’m very proud of how we competed – we didn’t give up on the game. That’s a positive attribute for our team,” Suns coach Frank Vogel expressed. “I’m more concerned with how we started defensively. I don’t think we had the necessary disposition to guard an elite offense.”

The Clippers never trailed, establishing a 30-13 lead late in the first quarter and displaying waves of offense against the overmatched Phoenix defense. At halftime, the Clippers led 70-51 after shooting 58.5% from the field.

“We need to begin games better and with a sense of urgency. Be prepared for the battle,” Booker remarked. “We were fighting an uphill battle the entire game. We demonstrated some improvements in the second half, showing what it looks like when we raise the energy and intensity.”

George had accumulated 21 points before halftime, while Leonard and Terance Mann both contributed 12.

The Suns seemed more preoccupied with criticizing the referees rather than focusing on their defense. Both Booker and Beal received technical fouls in the first half.

Phoenix declared a 100th consecutive full house, encompassing games in both the regular season and postseason.


The Clippers will compete in New Orleans on Friday at 5 p.m. PT.

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