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Clippers hold off short-handed Blazers 132-127 for 4th straight win

Portland's Ayton, Brogdon remain out with knee soreness

By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
Published: December 11, 2023, 10:25pm
4 Photos
Portland Trail Blazers forward Jabari Walker (34) reaches for a rebound against LA Clippers center Daniel Theis (10) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.
Portland Trail Blazers forward Jabari Walker (34) reaches for a rebound against LA Clippers center Daniel Theis (10) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) Photo Gallery

LOS ANGELES — Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 132-127 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.

James Harden added 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Paul George had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and Ivica Zubac had 18 as the Clippers improved to 9-3 in their last 12 games since ending a season-worst six-game skid.

Portland was without Deandre Ayton, who missed his third straight game, and Malcolm Brogdon, who sat out his second in a row. Both have right knee soreness.

Anfernee Simons scored a career-high 38 points and Shaedon Sharpe added 27 for the Blazers, who fell to 0-8 against the West on the road.

Simons was perfect at the free-throw line, making a career-high 13 in his fourth game of the season. He returned last week after missing 18 games with a ligament tear in his right thumb.

The Blazers made a season-high 19 3-pointers. Simons had five and Sharpe had four.

Sharpe’s basket gave Portland its first lead of the fourth, 121-120, after trailing by six.

The teams traded one-point leads, with Terance Mann hitting a pair of free throws to put the Clippers ahead, 124-123. George scored and Leonard hit two more free throws for a five-point lead.

Simons got fouled by George and made both to pull the Blazers within three with 16 seconds left. Simons’ dunk left Portland trailing 130-127 before George hit two free throws to seal the win.

The Clippers closed a high-scoring third on a 12-5 run that gave them a 105-99 lead.

The Blazers hit 10 3-pointers in the period, including five in a row to start, but never led by more than five points. Russell Westbrook scored seven straight in the Clippers’ run that gave them back control.

Portland erased a double-digit deficit in the second and took its first lead on a basket by former Clipper Moses Brown that capped an 8-0 run. George’s basket put the Clippers ahead 66-65 going into halftime.

The Clippers shot 79% in the first quarter, building a 14-point lead behind Zubac’s 14 points.

UP NEXT

Blazers host the Utah Jazz on Thursday to open a five-game homestand.

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CLIPPERS 132, BLAZERS 127

PORTLAND (127) — Camara 3-6 0-2 7, Thybulle 4-6 0-0 11, Reath 4-11 0-0 10, Sharpe 8-17 7-9 27, Simons 10-23 13-13 38, Walker 3-4 2-2 9, M.Brown 3-7 0-0 6, Henderson 8-16 0-0 19. Totals 43-90 22-26 127.

L.A. CLIPPERS (132) — George 7-17 4-4 20, Leonard 11-19 9-9 34, Zubac 9-13 0-0 18, Harden 7-14 3-3 20, Mann 3-6 2-2 9, K.Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Theis 1-3 0-0 3, Powell 6-9 2-2 16, Westbrook 5-7 1-2 12. Totals 49-89 21-22 132.

Portland 32 33 34 28—127

L.A. Clippers 43 23 39 27—132

3-Point Goals—Portland 19-40 (Simons 5-11, Sharpe 4-9, Henderson 3-4, Thybulle 3-5, Reath 2-6, Walker 1-2, Camara 1-3), L.A. Clippers 13-34 (Harden 3-6, Leonard 3-8, Powell 2-4, George 2-8, Theis 1-1, Westbrook 1-2, Mann 1-4, K.Brown 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Portland 36 (M.Brown 12), L.A. Clippers 35 (George 8). Assists—Portland 25 (Henderson, Sharpe 6), L.A. Clippers 33 (George 8). Total Fouls—Portland 21, L.A. Clippers 20. A—17,102 (18,997)

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