Clippers stars show out in win over Wizards

© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles took command of the Wizards with a 125-109 victory.

The Los Angeles Clippers returned to their winning ways after grabbing a win over the Washington Wizards Wednesday.

It was the latest bout in the Clippers seven-game road series after struggling to find their footing with shooting and suffering their first loss of the trip. 

But the Los Angeles squad bounced back to defeat Washington at Capital One Arena, outscoring them by more than double in the third quarter. 

“It was huge, in that third quarter, just coming out with a defensive mindset,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “For our guys to lock in and give up 25 and 19 (points) in the second and third, I thought it was huge for us. It allowed us to get the lead and it was kind of over after that.”

Los Angeles went 12-30 from deep after shooting under 33% for three straight games. The Clippers were 12-25 from the field before removing their starters.

What it means: Los Angeles advances to 31-15 for the third seed spot in the Western Conference standings. The team also broke .500 in their road record, reaching 12-11. 

After going 11-2 in December, the Clippers kept their momentum with a 12-3 show out in January. Six of those wins came on the road.

Hits: Clippers guard James Harden put on an impressive performance against the Wizards. Harden finished Wednesday’s bout with 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks in 32 minutes. 

During LA’s road series, Harden initially struggled in the three-point column, combining for just four threes against  Toronto, Boston and Cleveland. On Wednesday he looked more comfortable behind the arc and went 5-10 from deep.

Misses: Paul George was ruled out Wednesday with a sore groin. ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk made the announcement on Twitter hours before tip-off. George has competed in 43 games and is averaging 23 points per game while shooting 46.3% from the field and 41.2% from the three-point range. 

Starting center Ivica Zubac also missed out on Wednesday’s action with Washington. It’s his eighth straight game missed for the Clippers.

Stat of the game: Kawhi Leonard finished the game with 31 points scored against Washington in 30 minutes. Leonard especially dominated from midrange going 14-25 from the field, The Clippers guard added nine rebounds, four assists, four steals to help seal the game for LA while reaching a season-high four offensive rebounds.

According to Bally Sports, Leonard is averaging a jaw-dropping 57% from the field, 50% from three-point range and 90% in free throws. He has competed in every game in the months of October, November, January this season.

Up next: The Clippers have three more stops in their seven-game road series. First the Clippers will embark to Detroit to face off with the Pitons Friday. Back-to-back matchups will follow against the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks Feb. 4 and 5, respectively.