Leonard hits winner to lift Clippers over Rockets 122-119


By BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard hit the game-winning jumper with 15 seconds remaining to finish with 24 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers edged the Houston Rockets 122-119 on Friday night.

Russell Westbrook missed at the other end and Paul George got the rebound while getting fouled. He made both free throws with 1 second left to complete a wild finish and help the Clippers improve to 10-1 at home with their fourth win in a row overall.

George scored 19 points in his second game playing with Leonard. Lou Williams led the Clippers with 26 — all in the second half. Montrezl Harrell added 18 points.

James Harden had 37 points and 12 assists for the Rockets. Russell Westbrook added 22 points before fouling out late and Clint Capela had 17 points and 19 rebounds. Those three plus P.J. Tucker had at least four fouls.

Harden made a pair of free throws that put Houston ahead 119-118 with 22 seconds remaining.

Leonard answered with the go-ahead jumper before George’s free throws.

Harden couldn’t get a shot off on the Rockets’ final possession as time expired.

Williams hit a 3-pointer from the right corner that gave the Clippers a 118-117 lead with 30 seconds remaining after George’s 3 drew them within two.

The teams traded leads in the fourth with neither leading by more than four.

There were none of the theatrics that marked their last meeting, an overtime win by the Rockets in Houston on Nov. 13. Harden scored 47 points, Clippers coach Doc Rivers got ejected with his rival son Austin egging on the referees and Westbrook disparaged Patrick Beverley’s defense on Harden.

Beverley and Ivica Zubac were in foul trouble for the Clippers.

The Rockets took their first lead of the game on Harden’s 3-pointer during a 16-2 run, including 11 straight points, early in the third. He got fouled and made the free throw before hitting another 3 and Westbrook followed with one of his own that helped put the Rockets up 70-59.

The Clippers regrouped and finished off the quarter on a 21-14 spurt to trail 84-80 going into the fourth. Williams scored 14 points in the period.

The Clippers led by 14 in the second. That’s when Houston closed on a 19-9 run to trail 55-51 at halftime.


Rockets: They fell to 5-4 on the road. … Harden and Westbrook are averaging 20-plus points per game. The last time Houston had two players averaging that many in a season was 2007-08 with Yao Ming (22.0) and Tracy McGrady (21.6). … Daniel House Jr. missed his fourth straight game with a sacral contusion.

Clippers: Landry Shamet is off crutches but remains out with a high ankle sprain.


Rockets: Host Dallas on Sunday to begin a three-game homestand that closes out the month.

Clippers: Host New Orleans on Sunday to conclude a stretch of five straight home games.