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Short-handed and all, Clippers still outplay Spurs

PAUL George scored 24 points for the LA Clippers. (File)

The Los Angeles Clippers shrugged off the absence of star Kawhi Leonard and the trade of standout reserve Lou Williams to beat the San Antonio Spurs, 98-85, on Thursday.

The Clippers used just eight players in notching their second double-digit NBA win over the Spurs in as many nights.

Leonard had starred on Wednesday, but sat out Thursday with a sore right foot.

In his absence, Reggie Jackson scored a season-high 28 points for Los Angeles and Paul George added 24 points and 13 rebounds as the Clippers notched a fourth straight win.

It was a wrench, however, to take the court without Williams — a three-time winner of the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award as the league’s top reserve ‒ on tap.

He was traded shortly before Thursday’s trade deadline in the deal that brings point guard Rajon Rondo to the Clippers from Atlanta.

Elsewhere, CJ McCollum put Portland on the right track and Damian Lillard came through at the end as the Trail Blazers held off the depleted Miami Heat, 125-122, on Thursday.

LA Clippers 98, San Antonio 85

Portland 125, Miami 122

New York 106m Miami 102

Philadelphia 109, LA Lakers 101

Sacramento 141, Golden State 119

In New York, the Knicks rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Washington Wizards 106-102.

McCollum scored 29 of his 35 points in the first half and Lillard scored 14 of his 22 after the interval — including three free throws in the final second that put the Blazers over the top in a tight back-and-forth battle that featured 24 lead changes.

A dozen of those came in a tense final quarter. Miami’s Bam Adebayo drove for a layup that tied the score at 122-122 with 10.8 seconds remaining.

But Trevor Ariza fouled Lillard as he attempted a three-point shot and Lillard drained all three free-throws to seal it.

“He’s the closer,” said McCollum, who is still returning to full fitness after a lengthy injury layoff.

“I felt great in the first half,” he said. “I felt like I was moving well laterally, I had good lift on my jumper. But down the stretch I can’t be sure. I’ve got to be able to make shots in the fourth quarter, so I’m not quite there yet. But I’m getting close.”

Adebayo and Tyler Herro scored 29 points apiece for Miami, who played with just nine available players and dropped their fifth straight.

– Knicks rally –

In New York, the Knicks rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Washington Wizards 106-102.

Alec Burks scored 15 of his 27 points off the bench in the fourth quarter. RJ Barrett added 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists and Immanuel Quickley chipped in 16 points for New York — who trailed until the fourth quarter when they out-scored Washington 39-24.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 26 points and nine assists but connected on just eight of 23 shots from the field.

Washington’s Russell Westbrook endured an even worse shooting night, making three of 15 from the field and not a single basket in the second half.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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