Clippers hang on for home win over Denver

Henry Tran - The Sporting Tribune
Paul George and James Harden guided Los Angeles to a big win over the defending champs.

LOS ANGELES —  The Clippers overcame their home-court woes and a roared back from a 17-point deficit, sparking at 102-100 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night at Arena

It took the entire Clippers bench to outlast the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic, who posted his 24th triple-double of the season.

Both teams played without key scorers in Kawhi Leonard and Jamal Murray.

The Clippers, who have trailed by double digits at some point in 11 of their last 13 home games, won despite shooting just under 38%.

Denver had possession and trailed by two with five seconds left. However, Jokic missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, sealing an LA victory.

The Clippers split the season series 2-2 with Nuggets.

Here are takeaways from Thursday night’s game:

Leonard sits again

Leonard missed his second consecutive game with a sore right knee. His status also is questionable for Friday night’s game with the Utah Jazz, according to Clippers coach Tyronn Lue.

Lue would not confirm if Leonard has has undergone an MRI on the knee.

“We’re not gonna get into the details of it,” Lue said. “He has knee soreness. He’s gonna miss a couple games and we need to be ready to step up as he goes through his rehab process.”

Despite suffering a torn ACL in the same knee a few years ago, Leonard has played in 68 games this season, his most appearances since 2016-17 when he played in 74 games for San Antonio.

Leonard has had an impressive season so far, averaging 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game while shooting 52% from the field.


Harden comes alive

James Harden recovered from an offensive slump in the absence of Leonard.

Over the last 15 games, Harden has averaged 13 points on 37% shooting. But he stepped up against the defending champs with a shorthanded roster.

Harden finished with 20 points, eight assists and one turnover. As a team the Clippers had seven fewer turnovers than Nuggets.

By halftime Harden collected 14 points, his first double-digit scoring quarter since March 1. In his last two games combined, the star shooting guard scored 12 points.

Harden also made NBA history Thursday by collecting his 6,000th career rebound. He joined Russell Westbrook, Oscar Robertson and LeBron James as the only players with at least 25,000 points, 7,000 assists and 6,000 rebounds, according to the Clippers.

Clippers recoup for a home-court victory

LA claimed its first home win since March 9. 

With Thursday’s win, the Clippers snapped a five-game home loss streak. The team has five more games scheduled at out of their last six.

They will be facing a Utah Jazz team Friday that is stuck in a 10-game loss streak. The game will be a tiebreaker between the two teams who have split one win each so far this season.