Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Paul George, Clippers rally past Spurs for 3rd straight win

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By RAUL DOMINGUEZ The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — Paul George scored 35 points and the Clippers rallied to beat the San Antonio Spurs, 113-106, on Friday night for their third straight victory.

John Wall had 15 points and six assists and Ivica Zubac had another double-double (17 points, 15 rebounds) to go with four blocked shots for the Clippers, who are 5-4 after losing four of their first six games.

Devin Vassell had a career-high 29 points for the Spurs while playing limited minutes following a four-game absence due to a sore left knee. Vassell made his first eight shots, including three 3-pointers, and finished 4 for 5 from long range.

As expected, Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard missed his sixth consecutive game as he rehabilitates from offseason knee surgery.

Vassell and Keldon Johnson returned and helped San Antonio stay competitive after its worst home loss in franchise history, a 143-100 defeat against Toronto.

After trailing by 17 points, the Spurs closed the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 58-54 lead, capped by Zach Collins swatting away Norman Powell’s 15-foot driving layup at the buzzer. Collins opened the run with a 15-foot jumper followed by 3-pointers from Vassell and Johnson.

The Clippers rallied in the fourth, outscoring the Spurs 31-20 in the period.

Paul finished 12 for 17 from the field (5 for 7 from 3-point range) and 6 for 7 from the free-throw line to go with five assists. The Clippers shot 15 for 33 (45.5%) from behind the arc and outrebounded the Spurs 44-35.

They return home and host the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Coach Tyronn Lue said Leonard is frustrated but progressing as he recovers from surgery to repair a partial tear in his right ACL on July 13. … Forward Nicolas Batum suffered a bruise under his left eye after taking an elbow from Vassell on a driving layup. Batum was assessed a foul on the play with 1:18 left in the third quarter, which was upheld upon review. … Forward Marcus Morris Sr. and Collins were each assessed a technical foul after they had to be separated late in the second quarter. Morris grabbed and yanked Collins around the neck on an attempted layup, but officials had already whistled the play dead because Collins traveled. Both were assessed technicals after a video review.

Spurs: Vassell’s previous career high was 23 points against Indiana on Oct. 21. … Guard Romeo Langford missed the game after straining his left toe Wednesday against the Raptors. … Forward Isaiah Roby missed his third straight game with flulike symptoms.

CLIPPERS FINED

The NBA issued a $25,000 fine to the Clippers on Thursday for violations of the league’s policies regarding injury reporting.

The league found that the team did not disclose an accurate game availability status for guard Brandon Boston Jr. and forward Moussa Diabate prior to the team’s game against New Orleans on Sunday.

Boston and Diabate were listed as unavailable; both wound up playing against the Pelicans. Boston scored six points and Diabate logged four scoreless minutes in the Clippers’ 112-91 loss.

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