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Kawhi Leonard Drops 38 and 12 as Clippers Snap Spurs' 3-Game Winning Streak

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2019

San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) drives against Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers started a five-game homestand in ideal fashion Thursday.

Los Angeles defeated the San Antonio Spurs 103-97 at Staples Center and improved to 4-2 in the process. It was the first of four meetings between the teams in 2019-20, and Kawhi Leonard ensured his side started off on the right foot by dominating on both ends of the floor.

It was the first road game and first loss of the season for the Spurs, who are still 3-1 overall.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Kawhi handled the Spurs on both ends of the floor 🖐 38 PTS 12 REB 4 STL https://t.co/vVxbX0UQPa

         

Notable Player Stats

  • LAC Kawhi Leonard: 38 points, 12 rebounds and four steals
  • LAC Montrezl Harrell: 24 points and four rebounds
  • SAS DeMar DeRozan: 29 points, seven rebounds and seven turnovers
  • SAS Derrick White: 20 points, five rebounds and two blocks

          

Montrezl Harrell Providing Secondary Scoring at Ideal Time

The Clippers’ championship hopes revolve around Leonard, Paul George and a potentially stifling defense carrying the team in crunch time come the playoffs, but they cannot afford to fall too far behind in the deep Western Conference while George is sidelined.

NBA @NBA

Kawhi (32 PTS) is feeling it with a quick 9 PTS in the 4th! #ClipperNation 📲💻: https://t.co/lZZApswzuX https://t.co/fUOtxStn8A

NBA @NBA

The Klaw... AGAIN! #ClipperNation https://t.co/ctdv55XBCV

Leonard is as capable as any player in the league of carrying the offense, but he is going to need some help in the early stages of the race for the No. 1 seed.

Enter Montrezl Harrell.

The big man has been a force off the bench so far this season and continued that pattern by overwhelming San Antonio’s frontcourt for extended stretches. He worked into openings in the paint when defenders collapsed on his teammates and drew contact on his way to the free-throw line multiple times.

Harrell averaged a career-best 16.6 points a night last season and has now scored 17 or more points in five of his team’s six games in 2019-20. 

Thursday’s effort was important for more than just helping take the pressure off Leonard, as Lou Williams—who typically spearheads the offensive effort off the bench—struggled to find his shot at 5-of-19 from the field.

NBA @NBA

That Lou Will, Montrezl Harrell connection! 👀😮 @LAClippers | #ClipperNation https://t.co/0mUpMCry2R

FOX Sports West @FoxSportsWest

.@LAClippers hold a 50-48 lead at the break! Montrezl Harrell (12 points) reflects on the opening 24 minutes. #ClipperNation • @LAClippers https://t.co/x4TQe9D0Vd

Williams failed to reach the 20-point mark for the first time this year, which is a credit to the Spurs’ perimeter defense and a testament to how much the Clippers needed someone besides Leonard to come through if they were going to earn a head-to-head win over a fellow Western Conference contender.

Harrell helped keep the visitors at bay, countered a defense that played fairly well outside of handling Leonard and picked up the slack when Williams struggled.

The Clippers will need even more of that while George is sidelined.

           

What’s Next?

The Spurs are at the Golden State Warriors on Friday, while the Clippers host the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

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