nba

Kawhi Leonard (31 points), Clippers rally past slumping Wizards

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kawhi Leonard scored a season-high 31 points and shot 4 of 5 from the floor in the fourth quarter to power the Los Angeles Clippers’ late-game push past the visiting Washington Wizards 102-93 on Saturday.

The Clippers spent much of the afternoon trailing a Washington team desperate to snap a lengthy losing streak, falling behind by as many as 15 points.

Los Angeles chipped away at the deficit, thanks in part to a stout defensive effort in the third quarter holding the Wizards to just 18 points. The Clippers pulled ahead early in the fourth quarter for an 81-78 lead, before Washington ripped off seven straight to go ahead, 85-81.

But back-to-back tip-ins for Nicolas Batum and Terance Mann ignited a game-changing, 11-2 Los Angeles run that gave the Clippers a lead they never relinquished.

Leonard punctuated the run with the first basket of four straight he scored over a span of 1:32. The five-time All-NBA honoree played perhaps his best game since sustaining a torn ACL in the 2021 playoffs, completing his highest-scoring effort since April 2021 with nine rebounds and three steals.

Luke Kennard provided pop off the bench with 20 points, including 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. The Clippers shot 12 of 29 from deep overall, outpacing Washington’s 9 of 25 on 3-point attempts.

Will Barton accounted for almost half of the Wizards’ made 3-pointers, shooting 4 of 5 from long range to continue his recent run of productive games off the bench. Barton finished with 14 points in the loss, Washington’s ninth in a row and 12th in the last 13 games.

Kristaps Porzingis led the Wizards with 19 points, Deni Avdija recorded a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Kyle Kuzma finished with 17 points.

Marcus Morris Sr. was one of three Clippers with 10 points, joining reserves Mann and Amir Coffey. Morris also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Batum added eight points and seven rebounds, while former Wizards star John Wall finished with nine points and six assists.

–Field Level Media

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