Kawhi Leonard hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:46 remaining as the Los Angeles Clippers ended a six-game road trip with a hard-fought 124-116 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in New York.
Los Angeles blew its second 11-point lead in the third quarter and then lost a six-point advantage before ending the game on a 15-3 run over the final 3:29 remaining.
Leonard, who scored 24 points, put the Clippers ahead for good with 2:46 remaining when he hit a 3-pointer over Cam Thomas from the left side for a 114-113 lead. After Leonard made two free throws with 2:13 left, Thomas missed a tying 3 with 1:57 left and Leonard found Ivica Zubac for a dunk that made it 118-113 with 1:41 left.
The Nets were within 118-116 on Edmond Sumner’s three-point play with 72 seconds left, but Nicolas Batum converted a three-point play and Reggie Jackson’s dunk finished it off in the final minute.
Paul George scored 29 points for the Clippers, who went 4-2 on their trip. Zubac added 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Norman Powell contributed 14 points.
Thomas scored a career-high 47 points, becoming the fifth player in NBA history to scored at least 40 points in consecutive games before their 22nd birthday. Sumner added 23 for the Nets, who traded Kyrie Irving to Dallas before the game and fell to 5-8 while Kevin Durant recovers from a sprained MCL in his right knee.
Los Angeles ended the first quarter on a 16-7 run for a 29-27 lead, and Terance Mann’s layup opened a 51-40 lead with 2:48 left before the Clippers settled for a 55-53 halftime edge.
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Zubac’s dunk opened a 72-61 lead with 8:44 left in the third quarter, but the Nets answered with a 16-2 run and took a 77-74 lead on dunks by Sumner and Nic Claxton on consecutive possessions with about five minutes left. Los Angeles then took a 91-88 lead into the fourth on a triple by Batum with 31 seconds left.
After Mann’s layup opened a 99-93 advantage with 10:07 left, the Nets scored 14 straight points to take a 107-99 lead on Sumner’s 3 with 6:20 left. Los Angeles scored nine straight for a 108-107 lead on Zubac’s hook with 4:39 left.