April 20, 2024

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Kawhi Leonard’s late-game heroics help Clippers outlast 76ers, 108-107

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HEROIC. Kawhi Leonard delivers a crucial performance down the stretch as the Los Angeles Clippers outlast Philadelphia 76ers, on Wednesday night (Thursday, March 28, Philippine time) at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS PHOTO

Kawhi Leonard delivered a late-game heroics display to propel the Los Angeles Clippers to a disputed 108-107 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night (Thursday, March 28, Philippine time) at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Leonard’s impact was felt on both ends of the court as he completed two crucial 3-point plays down the stretch, followed by a pivotal block at the rim on the game’s final possession to secure the win for the Clippers. However, controversy ensued as Kelly Oubre Jr. was denied a foul call on the last play, leading to heated protests from Sixers head coach Nick Nurse and Oubre himself.

Nurse expressed frustration over the non-call, insisting that there was sufficient contact to warrant a foul on Paul George. The officiating crew admitted post-game that a foul should have been called, acknowledging Leonard’s slight drift to the left and affirming Oubre’s right to a potential game-winning free throw.

Despite a challenging first half where he struggled with his shot, Leonard showcased his resilience by bouncing back with a stellar second-half performance, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“We had to stay focused if we were going to stay in the game,” Leonard remarked on his team’s resilience.

Paul George led the Clippers’ offensive charge with 22 points, while James Harden contributed 16 points and 14 assists in his return to Philadelphia. Harden, who faced boos from the crowd throughout the game, shrugged off the hostility and focused on making an impact on the court.

On the Sixers’ side, Tyrese Maxey scored 26 points, supported by Oubre’s 17 points. Despite their efforts, the Sixers couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities down the stretch, ultimately falling short in the contentious matchup.

With the win, the Clippers snapped a streak of six losses in nine games, displaying resilience and determination in the face of adversity. Head coach Tyronn Lue praised his team’s fighting spirit, especially after falling behind by 15 points earlier in the game.

Lue acknowledged Leonard’s pivotal role in the comeback victory.

As the Clippers celebrate a hard-fought win, the Sixers will look to regroup and address their shortcomings as they aim to bounce back in their next outing. Despite the controversy surrounding the final play, both teams showcased their competitive spirit and determination, setting the stage for future showdowns between these two formidable opponents.

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