Kawhi Leonard’s 4th-quarter presence helps Clippers wrap comeback win over Lakers | CBC Sports

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Kawhi Leonard’s 4th-quarter presence helps Clippers wrap comeback win over Lakers | CBC Sports

Kawhi Leonard scored 11 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter and had 12 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 111-106 on Wednesday night in the NBA’s marquee Christmas game.

Montrezl Harrell had 18 points off the bench, Paul George added 17 and the Clippers improved to 2-0 against the Lakers this season.

Kyle Kuzma led Los Angeles with 25 points. LeBron James had 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, and Anthony David had 24 points. The Lakers have lost four straight games.

Los Angeles had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but video review showed James touched the ball last after Patrick Beverly knocked it away as James went up for a 3. George hit two free throws for the final margin.

“That wasn’t the game right there,” James said. “I mean, it’s a big play and you want to try to get it right, but it wasn’t where the game was lost.”

Lou Williams made two free throws — after a questionable foul call against Davis for tapping the swingman after his transition layup rimmed out — to give the Clippers a 105-103 lead with 3:29

Leonard, who had a 3 to cap a 7-0 run and tie it at 101 with 5:14 remaining, then made four late free throws.

“We have so many interchanging parts,” said Williams. “We have guys that’s going to have big nights. I think I had five or six points tonight, and that’s just how this team is built. It’s going to be different guys every night.”

Embiid leads 76ers past Bucks in battle of East powers

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo while defended by Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid during the first half of (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Joel Embiid was unyielding under the basket, arms extended sky high as Giannis Antetokounmpo tried to plow through the All-Star centre for a bucket. Embiid absorbed the contact and slapped the ball out of Antetokounmpo’s hands, one of a bountiful of disruptive plays triggered by the big man.

Embiid used a national showcase to play like an MVP, and the Sixers pushed around a Bucks team that had the best record in the NBA.

“A lot of people have kind of forgotten who I am,” Embiid said. “When I’m needed, I’m going to show up.”

Embiid had 31 points and 11 rebounds in Philadelphia’s first home Christmas game in 31 years, and the three-point happy 76ers beat Milwaukee 121-109 on Wednesday.

Tobias Harris sank five 3s, Josh Richardson and Furkan Korkmaz each had four and even Embiid hit three as part of Philly’s franchise record-tying 21 3s (on 44 attempts) in its most complete game of the season.

“I think this team is designed for the playoffs,” coach Brett Brown said. “I believe the road we have travelled so far has been a little bit erratic, at times. But I think the landing spot is exciting.”

Harris and Al Horford hit 3s over the final 90 seconds to push back a late Bucks run, and the Sixers improved to 16-2 at home.

There was a charged atmosphere for the anticipated matchup featuring Embiid and Ben Simmons taking on Khris Middleton and Antetokounmpo. Fans dressed as elves, wore ugly sweaters and held signs that said all they wanted for Christmas was a Sixers win.

They got it, with Embiid bullying the reigning MVP in Antetokounmpo on the way to the Sixers’ biggest halftime lead (21 points) against the Bucks under coach Mike Budenholzer.

“It was just one of those nights,” Budenholzer said.

Embiid scored 23 points and was troublesome defensively, holding Antetokounmpo to 4-for-14 shooting in the half. The Sixers hit 11 3s in the half and made the NBA-best Bucks (27-5) look like anything but Eastern Conference contenders.

Brown said before the game the Bucks were “NBA royalty.” They have a ways to go before they’re crowned tops in the East.

The Sixers aced their test against the NBA’s best.

“I’m not going to overvalue one game,” 76ers general manager Elton Brand said, “but it’s a good barometer.”

Warriors shock Rockets for 8th win

Golden State’s Draymond Green is congratulated by Ky Bowman after scoring during the first half of the Warriors’ 116-104 win over the Houston Rockets on Christmas. (Tony Avelar/The Associated Press)

Draymond Green scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, Damion Lee had 22 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors beat the Houston Rockets 116-104 on Wednesday.

D’Angelo Russell added 20 points, and Glenn Robinson III had 18 to help the Warriors win their third straight and end the Rockets’ four-game winning streak. Injury-ravaged Golden State improved to 7-24.

Russell Westbrook had 30 points and 12 rebounds for Houston. James Harden had 24 points and 11 assists, and Danuel House Jr. had 18 points. Westbrook had his ninth consecutive game of at least 20 points, the longest by any Rockets player other than Harden since Tracy McGrady did it in 10 straight games in 2007.

Ky Bowman hit a driving layup at the buzzer to give the Warriors an 92-87 edge heading into the final quarter.

After falling behind by eight points midway through the first quarter, the Rockets outscored Golden State 48-17 over the next 13 minutes to open a 53-40 advantage. Russell hit a short jumper in the final minute of the second and the Warriors drew to 68-64 by halftime.

Pelicans halt Nuggets’ hot streak

Brandon Ingram scored 31 points, Derrick Favors grabbed 13 rebounds and the New Orleans Pelicans surprised Denver 112-100 on Wednesday night to halt the Nuggets’ seven-game winning streak.

The 9-23 Pelicans are now 2-0 against the Nuggets this season. They spoiled the festive mood at the Pepsi Center as the Nuggets played at home on Christmas for the first time in 25 years.

New Orleans sprang the upset despite committing 19 turnovers. The Pelicans pulled away late courtesy of the long-range shooting of Lonzo Ball and Ingram. They also out-rebounded the Nuggets, including 14 offensive boards.

New Orleans finished a four-game trip with a 3-1 mark, which includes consecutive wins for the first time in a month.

Jrue Holiday had 20 points in the last of five Christmas games where the home teams went 2-3. This was the first time the Nuggets have hosted on the holiday since 1994 when they beat Seattle 105-96 in front of a sold-out crowd at McNichols Arena. The fans at Pepsi Center didn’t leave in a particularly merry mood.

Neither team led by more than eight points until Ball’s 3-pointer with 4:07 remaining made it 104-95. That all but sealed the win.

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