February 26, 2024

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Paul George, Kawhi Leonard help Clippers rally past Pistons

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SLAM DUNK. Paul George scores on a dunk during the Los Angeles Clippers game that saw them hacking out a 112-106 win against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday (Sunday, February 11 in the Philippines). LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS PHOTO

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard orchestrated a fourth-quarter rally, combining for 57 points as the Los Angeles Clippers overcame the Detroit Pistons 112-106 on Saturday (Sunday, February 11 in the Philippines). 

The Clippers, initially opening with a 12-2 run, found themselves trailing before a remarkable resurgence in the final quarter secured the victory.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue acknowledged the sluggish start, but in the second half, they went small and were able to score a lot better. 

George, in particular, emerged as the catalyst in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 points, including crucial back-to-back 3-pointers that capped an 11-0 run, extending the Clippers’ lead to 107-94.

Despite the Pistons’ valiant efforts, highlighted by Simone Fontecchio and Cade Cunningham’s combined eight straight points late in the game, they fell short in their attempt to secure a three-game winning streak. 

The Clippers’ bench, particularly Amir Coffey, provided a spark, with Coffey knocking down two crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

James Harden, contributing 14 points, eight assists, and six rebounds, played a pivotal role, making three consecutive free throws to give the Clippers their first lead since early in the second quarter. 

The Clippers’ ability to adapt, including a shift to a small-ball lineup, proved crucial in turning the tide in their favor.

Reflecting on the Pistons’ performance, George praised rookie sensation Cade Cunningham, saying that the latter is good, athletic, and strong.

Despite Cunningham’s 22 points and 10 assists, and Jaden Ivey’s impressive 23 points, the Pistons couldn’t sustain their lead, dropping their 10th consecutive game to the Clippers.

Detroit, aiming for their first three-game winning streak of the season, had started their six-game road trip with victories against Sacramento and Portland. However, the Clippers proved to be a formidable challenge, with George and Leonard leading the way.

The Clippers’ resilience showcased their ability to navigate through challenging moments, exemplified by Norman Powell’s injury scare in the final quarter. 

Powell, elbowed in the head by Jalen Duren, went down with a cut forehead and received stitches between his eyes. Despite the physical toll, Powell’s determination and the team’s collective effort secured the Clippers’ victory.

As the Clippers celebrate their comeback win, the Pistons reflect on a missed opportunity and look ahead to finding success on the road, falling to 4-21 away from home this season. The Clippers, now riding a wave of momentum, continue their pursuit of success in the highly competitive Western Conference.

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