NBA: Leonard leads Clippers back from deficit to stop Suns

Field Level Media via Reuters

Posted at Feb 27 2020 12:45 PM

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (right) against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Kawhi Leonard scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied from an 11-point deficit in the first quarter to beat the host Phoenix Suns, 102-92, on Wednesday night.

The Clippers won their second straight game following a three-game losing streak, with former Suns forward Marcus Morris adding 18 points. Los Angeles remained in third place in the Western Conference and improved to 6-0 when its lineup, including stars Leonard and Paul George, is fully healthy.

The Suns, who had won three of four before Wednesday, got 25 points and 17 rebounds from center Deandre Ayton, and 18 points and 10 assists from Ricky Rubio. All-Star Devin Booker suffered through a 5-for-19 shooting night and scored just 14 points.

The Clippers used a 14-2 run in the third quarter to take a five-point lead at halftime. A steal and fast-break layup by Leonard gave the Clippers a 71-59 lead midway through the third quarter.

Phoenix made it a nine-point game, 78-69, early in the fourth quarter, but Reggie Jackson hit a long 3 to put the Clippers up by 12. Then came back-to-back baskets by Lou Williams and Jackson for an 85-69 lead with 8:03 to play.

The Suns ran out to a 27-16 with 3s by rookie Cameron Johnson and Booker in the first quarter. The 11-point lead was the Suns' largest of the game.

The Clippers roared back in the second. They took their first lead, 39-36, on a 3 by Morris, who was open after the Suns double-teamed Leonard in the corner with 6:12 to go.

Los Angeles built its lead to 54-43 at the 1:36 mark on a George 3. The Clippers led, 54-49, at halftime, with 12 points from Leonard, and made 9 of 21 3s in the first half.

Phoenix was without one of its top scorers, forward Kelly Oubre Jr., who did not play because of a knee injury. Oubre averages 18.7 points per game.

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