Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points, Paul George added 24 and the Los Angeles Clippers extended their winning streak to four with a 136-130 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Reserves Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams also had 24 points. The Clippers — who shot 59.2 per cent from the field — trailed by two at halftime but took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Sixers 38-24.
Already missing the injured Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Philadelphia’s bad luck continued when Josh Richardson suffered a bruised nose in the second quarter that ruled him out for the rest of the game as he was placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol.
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The game was tied at 89 before Los Angeles went on an 18-5 run. Leonard scored 11 points in the period and George had eight.
Harrell’s dunk with 8:37 remaining in the game gave the Clippers a 117-103 lead.
Philadelphia made a final charge to close within 125-121 with three minutes left but Williams’ jumper and Leonard’s pull-up basket thwarted the rally.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers was glad to have his full roster available for the clash, saying: “We needed everyone tonight. Philadelphia played great and it felt like they made every shot, but our guys shot better. If we’re not at full strength, we don’t win the game for sure.”
Rivers’ counterpart Brett Brown said the Clippers forced Philly onto the back foot in the crucial third quarter, which ultimately cost the 76ers the game.
“They stood us up, they got into us on our back heels. I thought we had a hard time trying to find the rim,” coach Brown said.
“It was really our only blemish, that third period. Twenty-four points, given our other three periods, just wasn’t enough to cover their onslaught.”
The Sixers fell down when the game was on the line.Source:AP
Shake Milton led Philadelphia with 39 points, including seven three-pointers. The first-year guard had 26 points in the first half, which tied a team season-high.
Milton is seizing his opportunity to make an impact for the Sixers, who are without Embiid and Simmons. Embiid is out with a shoulder injury while Simmons has been laid low by a back issue.
“It kind of just happened randomly. I was ready, as soon as there was the opportunity,” Milton said. “Once the first couple of ones knocked down, especially the first three, I felt pretty good. It definitely feels cool.”
Former Clippers forward Tobias Harris had 25 points and Alec Burks 15. Philadelphia started fast, making 11 of its first 13 from the field to take a 25-11 lead midway through the first quarter as Milton scored 11, including seven straight at one point.
Los Angeles cut the margin down to five at the end of the first quarter and then scored the first seven points in the second to take its first lead at 41-39 on a pair of free throws by Harrell with 9:58 remaining in the first half.
The remainder of the quarter saw five ties and three lead changes before the Sixers went into the locker room with a 72-70 halftime advantage.
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