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Kawhi Leonard, Paul George Each Top 40 Points as Clippers Hold off Timberwolves

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 14, 2019

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, left, tries to get past Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
Craig Lassig/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers extended their winning streak to four games following a 124-117 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center on Friday night. 

Since starting their six-game road trip with a 28-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles has responded with four wins by an average of 13.5 points. This victory also moves the Clippers over the .500 mark on the road at 7-6. 

The Clippers became the second team in the Western Conference to reach the 20-win mark thanks to their performance Friday. Only the Los Angeles Lakers (23-3), who beat the Miami Heat earlier in the day, are ahead of their 20-7 mark. 

This was a showcase for Los Angeles' dynamic duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. They combined to score the Clippers' first 23 points of the game and went off for 88 points overall. 

Minnesota remains in free fall in the Western Conference standings. Only the New Orleans Pelicans, who have dropped 11 straight games, have a longer active losing streak than the Timberwolves (seven). 

Notable Game Stats

  • Kawhi Leonard, F (LAC): 42 points (19-of-19 free throws), 10 rebounds
  • Paul George, F (LAC): 46 points (17-of-31), 5 rebounds, 7 assists
  • Montrezl Harrell, PF (LAC): 18 points, 4 rebounds
  • Karl-Anthony Towns, C (MIN): 39 points (12-of-22), 12 rebounds
  • Andrew Wiggins, F (MIN): 34 points (12-of-20)
  • Jeff Teague, G (MIN): 22 points (10-of-11 free throws)

Kawhi, PG Dominate in Clippers' Win

When the Clippers started their road trip with an embarrassing loss to the Bucks, they did a good job of bluntly assessing that performance without making it sound like there was a sense of panic about dropping a game to one of the best teams in the NBA

“It was Giannis’ birthday and we searched all over the city to find a gift, couldn’t find one, so we gave him this one,” head coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “That’s all I can come up with. That’s the best I got, because we were awful.”

If teams take on the personality of their best players, Leonard is having a profound impact on the Clippers. The reigning NBA Finals MVP has responded in spectacular fashion. He was held to 35.7 percent shooting in that game but has shot 30-of-56 in the past three games. 

ESPN @espn

Kawhi = Surgical 31 points in the first half, a career high for any half 🔥 https://t.co/vFM8BuFtmT

Leonard and George were the definition of a two-man wrecking crew with their performance against a Minnesota defense that had no answers. That duo were the only Clippers starters who scored in the first half:

SLAM @SLAMonline

It's halftime, and Kawhi and PG are the only starters who have scored 👀👀 Dominance. https://t.co/3f3MBjl3oS

NBA @NBA

Kawhi (half career-high 31 PTS) & PG (23 PTS) help the @LAClippers jump out to a halftime lead on ESPN! https://t.co/nO0OFt3BBP

Los Angeles starters not named Leonard or George combined for 10 points in the win. Montrezl Harrell contributed 18 points off the bench, but he was the only other Clippers player to reach double digits.

This is only the 11th time this season that Leonard and George have played in the same game. The Clippers are 9-2 in those games, and they unleashed the full extent of their powers on this night. They showed the rest of the NBA how dangerous they are when everything is going right for them. 

What's Next?

The Clippers will wrap up their six-game road trip Saturday at the United Center against the Chicago Bulls (8 p.m. ET). The Timberwolves have four days off before hosting the New Orleans Pelicans on Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. ET. 

This article will be updated to provide more information soon.

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