Sports

NBA: Kawhi Leonard’s late shots lift Clippers past Hornets


December 5, 2022;  Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shot past Charlotte Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr.  (12) in the second half at Spectrum Center.  The Los Angeles Clippers won 119-117.  at the Spectrum Center.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shot past Charlotte Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) in the second half at Spectrum Center. The Los Angeles Clippers won 119-117. at the Spectrum Center. Required credit: Nell Redmond-USA Sports TODAY

Kawhi Leonard’s jump from 18 feet broke the tie with 1.4 seconds remaining and the Los Angeles Clippers won 119-117 over hosts the Charlotte Hornets in a back-and-forth game Monday night.

Paul George scored 19 points and Leonard, who scored the winning goal in the Clippers’ previous possession, finished with 16 points. This is the first game both players return to the squad after a period of absence due to injury.

Charlotte’s PJ Washington missed a potentially tethered jump to the whistle.

Nic Batum, a former Charlotte player, and Reggie Jackson both scored 13 points, while Marcus Morris Sr. and John Wall each had 12 points as the Clippers started their four-game run against the Eastern Conference teams.

Kelly Oubre Jr. Leading the Hornets with 28 points, Washington with 26 points and Terry Rozier with 22 points. Nick Richards provided 11 points and 10 rebounds and Mason Plumlee added 8 points and 12 rebounds, but the Hornets were trailing in three of the four quarters.

The Clippers, who had lost four of their previous six games, took 15 shots from three-point range to help beat the 14 to 21 free throw ratio.

The Hornets took the lead in the third half through the strength of a 36-21 advantage. Rozier, who was sent on for nine in the first half, took five of his nine shots in the third half.

However, the Clippers regained control in the fourth quarter. They took a 104-96 lead on game 3 of Batum with less than eight minutes to go.

The Hornets returned to finish the game with a score of 115. Rozier’s shot put them ahead with a 1:34 lead to take the lead from Leonard’s heroes.

Los Angeles extended their two-point lead from the end of the first half to 63-54 after halftime, boosted by shooting 9 to 20 in 3 seconds. The Hornets made 6 of 15 3-point attempts in the first half and received 16 points from Oubre and 14 from Washington.

Washington’s scoring was a positive development, as he was knocked out in Saturday night’s 0-13 game against Milwaukee. He finished Monday’s game 11 to 21 on the field, making four of his 10 appearances from outside the 3-point arc.

The Hornets finished the homestand with a 1-2 record.

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