Kawhi Leonard got 34 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers won their fourth game in a row by beating the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 132-127 on Monday night.
James Harden scored 20 points and also contributed eight rebounds and eight assists. Paul George and Ivica Zubac each had 20 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. The Clippers have been doing well, winning 9 out of their last 12 games since overcoming a tough six-game losing streak.
In Portland’s team, Deandre Ayton didn’t play for the third game in a row, and Malcolm Brogdon missed his second consecutive game. Both players were sidelined due to right knee soreness.
Anfernee Simons had his best game ever, scoring 38 points, and Shaedon Sharpe added 27 points for the Blazers. However, despite their efforts, the team hasn’t won any of their eight games against Western Conference opponents when playing on the road.
Simons did well at the free-throw line, making all of his shots and achieving a career-high of 13 in his fourth game of the season. He came back to play last week after being out for 18 games due to a ligament tear in his right thumb.
The Blazers set a new record for the season by making 19 3-pointers in the game. Simons made five of them, while Sharpe contributed four.
Sharpe’s basket helped Portland take the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter, making it 121-120, after they were behind by six points.
The teams kept exchanging one-point leads, and then Terance Mann made two free throws, giving the Clippers a lead of 124-123. After that, Paul George scored, and Kawhi Leonard made two more free throws, securing a five-point lead for the Clippers.
Simons was fouled by George, and he made both free throws, bringing the Blazers within three points with 16 seconds remaining. Despite Simons’ dunk narrowing the gap to 130-127, George made two free throws, securing the win for the Clippers.
In the third quarter, the Clippers finished strong with a 12-5 run, which gave them a 105-99 lead.
During that time, the Blazers made 10 3-pointers in the period, with five of them coming in a row at the beginning. However, they never managed to take a lead of more than five points. Russell Westbrook played a key role by scoring seven consecutive points in the Clippers’ run, helping them regain control of the game.
In the second quarter, Portland managed to eliminate a double-digit disadvantage and grabbed their first lead with a basket from Moses Brown, concluding an 8-0 run. However, Paul George scored, putting the Clippers back in the lead 66-65 as they headed into halftime.
In the first quarter, the Clippers had an impressive 79% shooting accuracy, establishing a 14-point lead, with Zubac contributing 14 points to their score.