LOS ANGELES — Kawhi Leonard sat in the second half of back-to-backs last season. Now he's healthy and highly productive.
Leonard scored 31 points in three quarters, giving him 106 in his last three games, and the Los Angeles Clippers routed the Sacramento Kings 119-98 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory, the NBA's longest active streak.
“Just being healthy has been good,” said Leonard, who tore his ACL during the 2021 playoffs.
Paul George dived on the floor for a loose ball in the first half and didn’t play in the second because of a sore left groin. Coach Tyronn Lue said George could have returned if needed.
Adding James Harden has given the Clippers another playmaking weapon.
Harden had 15 points, seven assists, and six rebounds to help the Clippers sweep a back-to-back for the first time this season. They have won 10 of their last 13 games. AP
Booker scores 32, Suns beat Warriors
PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns finished another white-knuckle win in the final seconds, once again making a comfortable victory much closer than it probably should have been.
It's a trend that coach Frank Vogel is getting tired of quickly.
Devin Booker scored 32 points, Bradley Beal added 16 in his return from a back injury, and the Suns held on late to beat the Golden State Warriors 119-116 on Tuesday night. The Suns nearly blew a nine-point lead in the final 1:30 before recovering.
“Yeah, we've got to stop doing that," Vogel said. “It's getting old ... That being said, we enjoy wins. That's a good win.”
Golden State's Draymond Green was ejected in the third quarter after receiving a Flagrant 2 foul for hitting Jusuf Nurkic in the face. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 24 points.
The Suns took an 88-87 lead into the fourth after Beal hit a baseline jumper with 1.9 seconds left. Phoenix used a 12-0 run — highlighted by Jordan Goodwin's steal, pass, and then reverse dunk by Booker — to push ahead 109-96 with about four minutes left. AP
Nikola Jokic ejected in Q2 against Bulls
CHICAGO — Nikola Jokic chose his words carefully. At least he did after the game.
“I like my money so I'm not going to say whatever,” the two-time NBA MVP said.
Jokic was ejected in the second quarter of Denver's 114-106 victory at Chicago on Tuesday for the language he directed toward an official after he felt he was fouled on a layup attempt.
Jokic finished with four points, nine rebounds, and six assists in Denver’s only scheduled visit to the United Center this season. After the 7-foot center was thrown out, the crowd of 20,775 seemed to register its displeasure with the decision by the officials.
Jokic protested after he missed a reverse layup with 1:12 left in the first half, saying something in the direction of a referee as he made his way back down the court. He was promptly whistled for a technical and thrown out by official Mousa Dagher.
“I crossed the line, but sometimes that word doesn’t cross the line,” Jokic said. AP