LOS ANGELES, PA – Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points in his two games, Paul George added 23 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 128-105 Wednesday night.
Damian Lillard (#0) of the Portland Trail Blazers keeps Kawhi Leonard (#2) of the Los Angeles Clippers for the first half of the 30th. December at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo: Harry Howe/Getty Images)
It was the second consecutive victory of the Clippers at the end of the year. They beat Minnesota by 23 points the night before after losing 51 points to Dallas last weekend.
Leonard wore a transparent plastic mask that was held around his head by two white stripes to protect his mouth, where he was given eight stitches after being hit in the elbow by teammate Serge Ibaka a week ago. He started slowly and scored 12 points in the first half when the Clippers shot 58 percent off the ground.
Leonard and George came at the beginning of the second half. Together they scored the first nine points of the Clippers and increased their lead to 85-57.
George got ten rebounds, while he and Leonard got seven each. Six Clippers scored in the double digits. Lou Williams added 15 points to the bank.
The boys are playing hard, we’re locked up, Williams says. We know we have a lot of capable guys, we play with confidence.
CJ McCollum scored 25 points, including seven to three, to lead the Blazers, whose run of two straight victories came to an end. Damian Lillard hit 14 of the 15 free throws and scored 20 points after missing 11 of the 14 pitches on the field. It was 0 for 8 out of 3.
They just lost 50 points, so they’re stuck, Lillard said about the Clippers. We missed free throws, we made them look clean because we were late and we weren’t very active in defense.
The Blazers only led three times and never got more than three points. They lived on a leash and hit 29 of the 34 free throws. Carmelo Anthony made 9 out of 10 wrong shots and scored 15 points.
Portland never had much luck in the second half because they were 30 points behind.
When you lose in the league, it is difficult to come back, especially against talented teams, McCollum said.
The Clippers lead with 21 points in the second quarter. Leonard scored six points in an 18-7 series that ended with a three-point game to 67-46. Lillard and McCollum scored the last 15 points of the Blazers half to reduce them to 76-57.
Trail Blazers: Gary Trent Jr. sat with his right calf and scored 28 points on the bench on Sunday against the Lakers. … The Blazers were in town at the weekend and used the Clippers to train on Tuesdays. Due to severe restrictions in the devastated Los Angeles County COVID-19, the team cannot meet or eat as a group at their hotel. I love running, said coach Terry Stotts. I’d like to get out of the hotel.
Scissors: For the first time since 1-6. In December 2014, they had at least 30 assists in their last two matches. … The team starts the season 4-1 for the first time since 2017-18. …F Marcus Morris Sr. hasn’t played this season because of the knee pain.
Trail Blazers: Visit Golden State on Friday for the first of two consecutive games with the Warriors.
Scissors: Visit Utah on Friday to start the new year.
(© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed).