NBA News: Kawhi Leonard and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers were in great shape and in high spirits on Tuesday night at the Spectrum Center as they defeated the Charlotte Hornets 119-117 to celebrate their return from injuries.
The Clippers turned to Leonard in his comeback from an ankle strain with the game on the line, and he delivered. Leonard is a two-time Finals MVP. Indeed, in his first game back after being out for weeks, Leonard scored 16 points, including an 18-foot jumper with 1.4 seconds left to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 119-117 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
Nobody seems to like playing this game as much as I do, Leonard claimed. “I enjoy playing because it makes me happy. And it was fantastic that I made that shot.
“My teammates had faith in me. My team allowed me room and I was able to take my place. I succeeded in blocking a shot.
He had only played six games before this one, having missed all of 2021–22 with a torn right ACL.
, his partner in crime, also recovered from a strained hamstring to contribute 19 points and seven assists for the Clippers, ending their two-game losing run.
John Wall contributed 12 points and 12 assists off the bench, and Reggie Jackson and Nic Batum both scored 13 points.
George had a team-high 19 points and seven assists in 28 minutes after missing the previous seven games due to a right hamstring strain. He hit 8 of 15 shots. Luke Kennard scored nine points despite missing nine straight games due to a strained right calf.
George declared, “This is actually a terrific chance to sort of get back on track.” We were performing well while everyone was well, and now we can work on becoming the group we set out to be.
With 6:32 left, LA had a seven-point lead, but the Hornets rallied and led 117-115 with 1:34 left. However, George passed Leonard an offensive rebound underneath the hoop for a layup that tied the score.
The Clippers star had a chance to complete the play on his own, but instead, he brought the ball back to the right corner and handed it to John Wall, who eventually set up Leonard for the decisive shot.
The Clippers are feeling the pressure of having to play without their two biggest talents for such a prolonged period of time even if it is only early December. With only four games to show for their combined time this season, the pair has a lot to make up for in the upcoming weeks of another demanding schedule, particularly if they hope to qualify for the playoffs.
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