After earning one of their most impressive victories this season, the Los Angeles Clippers will attempt to extend their winning streak to four games Sunday when they host the Philadelphia 76ers.
On Friday, the Clippers pounded the Denver Nuggets 132-103 in a matchup of Western Conference contenders. Los Angeles, which never trailed, controlled the contest from the start and buried Denver in the second half.
Paul George had 24 points, converting 6-of-8 3-pointers, as seven Clippers scored in double figures. The victory allowed the Clippers to tie the Nuggets for second place in the conference, six games behind the Lakers.
“It’s a big win,” said guard Lou Williams, who had 17 points with five 3-pointers and helped the Clippers’ bench outscore the Nuggets’ 73-49.
The Clippers set the tone early by blitzing the Nuggets with a 17-4 burst to open the game.
It didn’t hurt that the Clippers fielded a healthy roster for the third straight outing. All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who finished with 19 points against the Nuggets, said health and staying focused is crucial for the Clippers to perform as one of the NBA’s elite clubs.
“I mean sky’s the limit,” said Leonard, according to ESPN.com. “We have very talented players, we got some youth, veterans, and when it’s all put together, I feel like we can be one of the top teams. It’s about just keep sustaining our health and trusting each other and just taking it one game at a time.”
Former Clipper Tobias Harris scored 34 points with seven assists and seven rebounds to lead the Sixers to a 115-106 win at home over the New York Knicks on Thursday. Shake Milton added 19 points by hitting all five of his 3-point attempts and making 6 of 7 shots from the floor for the Sixers, who played without All-Star center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons.
“With those two out we had to find our identity of how we’re going to play,” said Harris, according to Inquirer.com.
Embiid sustained a shoulder injury in Wednesday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The club announced Thursday that Embiid would be re-evaluated in a week but he suffered no structural damage to his shoulder.
Simmons hurt his lower back during Philadelphia’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 22. He is expected to be re-evaluated within the next two weeks.
Al Horford, who has struggled offensively at times this season, stepped up against the Knicks, scoring 15 points, converting all four of his 3-point attempts, recording nine assists and grabbing seven boards. Horford will be relied upon to fill some of the void left by Embiid and Simmons.
“It was definitely nice,” said Horford of his 3-point shooting, according to Inquirer.com. “I continue to work every day on those shots and I stay ready. It definitely felt good.”
Philadelphia has lost seven straight road games.
In their last meeting in Philadelphia on Feb. 11, the Sixers defeated the Clippers 110-103 behind 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists by Simmons and 26 points by Embiid. Leonard scored 30 points.
–Field Level Media