Kawhi Leonard, Clippers Beat 76ers 122-112 Despite Tobias Harris' 29 Points

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 28, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, right, shoots as Philadelphia 76ers forward Danny Green defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers won their fifth straight game by defeating the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 122-112 at Staples Center on Saturday.

The two teams were tied at 57 late in the second quarter, but it was all Clippers from there. They led wire-to-wire in the second half and took a 19-point lead in the fourth. Philadelphia never came within 10 points in the final 17:27 of the game.

Kawhi Leonard led all L.A. scorers with 28 points (19 in the first half), and Paul George got close to a triple-double after posting 24 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Terance Mann dropped 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting off the bench.

Tobias Harris led the 76ers with 29 points on 13-of-19 shooting, and Ben Simmons contributed 15 points and seven rebounds. They played their eighth straight game without All-Star center Joel Embiid after he suffered a bone bruise on his left knee during a March 12 matchup against the Washington Wizards.

The 31-16 Clippers maintained their hold on third place in the Western Conference. The 32-14 76ers, who had won four straight, still lead the Eastern Conference by a game.


Notable Performances

76ers F Tobias Harris: 29 points, seven rebounds, six assists

76ers G/F Ben Simmons: 15 points, seven rebounds

76ers G Danny Green: 17 points

Clippers F Kawhi Leonard: 28 points, four assists, three steals

Clippers F Paul George: 24 points, nine rebounds, nine assists

Clippers G Terance Mann: 23 points 


Dominant 2nd Half Propels Clippers to Big Win

Los Angeles and Philadelphia traded blows for much of the first two quarters, but the Clippers went into the locker room with momentum after going on a half-closing 8-3 run to go up five at the break.

A late dunk from Leonard on a well-executed play helped that cause:

LA Clippers @LAClippers

.@kawhileonard with more love from above. 📺 @FoxSportsWest | #ClipperNation https://t.co/TuAo7iRM8j

In the third, George stuck a deep three-pointer to give the Clips an 11-point edge:

LA Clippers @LAClippers

.@Yg_Trece all the way from Figueroa 👌 📺 @FoxSportsWest | #ClipperNation https://t.co/O0YDP5Vjrb

Elsewhere, it was the Terance Mann show, as the 76ers had no answers for the former Florida State star. He found Nicolas Batum for an easy two and also took care of business himself against multiple defenders:

LA Clippers @LAClippers

Eyes on the back of T-Mann’s head 👀 @terance_mann ➡️ @nicolas88batum https://t.co/KI1HB8gw4z

LA Clippers @LAClippers

.@terance_mann vs. everybody. 📺 @FoxSportsWest | #ClipperNation https://t.co/Ozl8ybYEMq

Mann also flew down the baseline for this jam to help keep the 76ers at bay:


Terance Mann drives baseline and stuffs it home! 21 PTS, 9-10 FGM for Mann on NBA TV https://t.co/VLc94YjPCB

Ultimately, the Clippers didn't have to sweat much in the second half thanks largely to Leonard, Mann and George, and now they're on a roll as winners of five straight.


Harris Excels in Defeat

Harris has taken it upon himself to carry the Philadelphia offense at times during this stretch sans Embiid. He notably dropped 30 points in a 99-96 win over the New York Knicks and added 29 points in 30 minutes en route to Philly's 129-105 win over the Sacramento Kings.

The 76ers had played seven full games without Embiid since the bone bruise, and they had gone 6-1 thanks largely to Harris, who led Philadelphia with 23.3 points per game on 50.4 percent shooting.

It was more of the same for Harris on Saturday, as his 29 points led all scorers. The result wasn't what Philadelphia hoped for, but Harris' effort against the Clips was still excellent as the team continues to navigate without its superstar.

The first half was encouraging for the 76ers, with Harris scoring 17 points by the break. He got into a nice duel with Leonard, who was terrific in his own right.


Kawhi (19 PTS) & Tobias (17 PTS) duel in the 1st half on NBA TV! @sixers 60 @LAClippers 65 https://t.co/vN2pj3eSrh

Harris also got his teammates involved and fed Ben Simmons on this nice give-and-go:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

A lil game of give & go. @tobias31 x @BenSimmons25 https://t.co/Cxm2bLqUZU

He later found Simmons slicing through the lane:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

😤😤😤 https://t.co/HVCsHKfILH

Harris took care of business himself mostly, though, and is seen here knocking down this mid-range jumper over Marcus Morris:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

Give him 17 at the half. 🔥 @tobias31 | #HereTheyCome https://t.co/IuM3Wgm1TD

However, the 76ers simply didn't have enough firepower to compete with the Clippers on a night when there was little room for error.

Still, another solid Harris performance is a silver lining for the 76ers as they look to bounce back and maintain their first-place hold in the East.


What's Next?

L.A. will host the Milwaukee Bucks at 10 p.m. ET Monday. Philadelphia will visit the Denver Nuggets at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Ball Arena.