NBA: LA Clippers climb back late to beat Portland Trail Blazers

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) moves to the basket against Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside (21) during the first half at Staples Center.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) moves to the basket against Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside (21) during the first half at Staples Center.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied from a eight-point, fourth-quarter hole to defeat the visiting Portland Trail Blazers 107-101 in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Thursday night (Nov 7).

Lou Williams scored 26 points and recorded eight assists while Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac each scored 15 points for the Clippers. Zubac also had 13 rebounds, nine on the offensive end.

Leonard contributed 18 points to the fourth-quarter comeback.

The victory was the 900th of Clippers coach Doc Rivers' career. He is the 13th coach to reach the milestone.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum scored 22 points apiece to lead Portland, but both shot 9-for-23 from the field. Hassan Whiteside added 17 points and 19 rebounds. Anfernee Simons scored 16 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter.

A three-point play by Whiteside with 1min 16sec left knotted the score at 98.

Williams' jumper gave the Clippers a two-point edge with 58.9 seconds remaining.

A free throw by Simons pulled Portland with 100-99, but Williams nailed a three-pointer with 32.5 seconds left to increase the margin to four before Rodney Hood sliced the Clippers' lead to 103-101 with 17.5 seconds remaining.

Leonard's two free throws with 13.1 seconds left sealed the win for Los Angeles.

 

McCollum's jumper tied the score at 61 at 6:05 of the third. A 12-4 spurt by the Blazers allowed them to grab 73-65 advantage after a bucket inside by Whiteside with 1:50 left in the quarter.

Los Angeles closed the gap to three before a free throw by Whiteside and a basket by Lillard lifted Portland to a 76-70 edge heading into the fourth.

In the second quarter, the Clippers went up 42-31 after two free throws by Williams with 2:22 remaining. The Blazers cut the deficit to 47-40 heading into half-time.

Portland were able to stay close despite shooting 32 per cent from the floor compared 38.3 per cent for Los Angeles in the first half. Overall, the Clippers shot 43.8 per cent to 37.5 percent for the Blazers.

Earlier on Thursday, the NBA fined the Clippers US$50,000 (S$68,000) regarding pre-game comments Rivers made regarding Leonard sitting out of Wednesday's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks due to "load management". The NBA determined Rivers' statements were "inconsistent" with Leonard's health.