Leonard’s clutch photographs, Westbrook’s huge block lead Clippers previous Suns in Sport 1


PHOENIX (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 38 factors, together with a pair of late 3-pointers, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Phoenix Suns 115-110 within the opener of their Western Convention playoff collection on Sunday.

Eric Gordon added 19 factors and hit a late 3 that stored the Clippers forward. Russell Westbrook shot simply 3 of 19 from the ground for Los Angeles however made a pair of free throws with 17.7 seconds left for a three-point lead, then blocked Devin Booker’s layup try on the different finish and swatted the ball off Booker to provide the Clippers the ball with 10.1 seconds remaining.

Kevin Durant scored 27 factors for the Suns, who misplaced for the primary time with him on the ground. Phoenix acquired the two-time NBA Finals MVP from Brooklyn in February and accidents restricted him to eight video games — all Suns wins.

Devin Booker added 26 factors for Phoenix, which is able to attempt to keep away from falling right into a 2-0 gap at residence on Tuesday.

The Suns trailed 109-103 with 1:33 remaining however scored the subsequent 5 factors. The Clippers grabbed a number of offensive rebounds on the following possession earlier than Westbrook made his essential free throws. He completed with 9 factors, 10 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and two steals.

Los Angeles led for a lot of the night till halfway by means of the third quarter. Torrey Craig made back-to-back buckets, together with one on a strong fast-break dunk, to push Phoenix forward 70-68.

It was a part of a 15-0 run that put the Suns up 77-68. The Clippers, led by Leonard’s 12 factors within the third, recovered to tie the sport at 81-all heading into the fourth.

Leonard — a two-time Finals MVP taking part in his first playoff recreation since June 14, 2021 — did a lot of his harm from the mid-range, however moved behind the 3-point arc within the recreation’s late moments. He hit a 3 with 2:36 left and one other on the 2-minute mark, ending 13 of 24 capturing from the sector.

The Clippers had been lacking considered one of their greatest gamers in eight-time All-Star Paul George. He sprained his proper knee final month and it’s unclear if he’ll be capable to play on this collection.

Gordon scored 12 factors because the Clippers jumped to a 30-18 lead after one quarter. The Suns shot simply 31.8% from the sector within the first quarter and Durant was held scoreless.

Durant missed his first 5 photographs from the sector earlier than lastly connecting on a mid-range jumper early within the second quarter. That appeared to shake the nerves and the 34-year-old poured in 17 factors earlier than the break, serving to reduce the Clippers’ result in 59-54.


Clippers: George hasn’t performed since March 21. … Ivica Zubac had 10 factors and 11 rebounds within the first half.

Suns: G Cam Payne (low again soreness) was not accessible. He was harm within the next-to-last recreation of the common season. … Have been taking part in their first residence playoff recreation since a 33-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Sport 7 of final yr’s Western Convention semifinals.



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