Clippers cut it close, but lost to Nets


  • Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, left, and Los Angeles Clippers center Serge Ibaka go after a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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  • Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, right, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center Serge Ibaka defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden, left, talks with Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley after a confrontation in the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Bruce Brown, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden, right, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Bruce Brown, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams, center, shoots as Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris, left, and guard Bruce Brown defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, left, gets a pat on the head from guard James Harden during a timeout in the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets forward Jeff Green dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets guard Bruce Brown, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris, right, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center Serge Ibaka defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brooklyn Nets forward Jeff Green, left, and Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann go after an inbound ball meant for Green during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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LOS ANGELES — The Clippers and Nets might or might not meet again way down the road this season. If they do, it’ll be a fun NBA Finals, judging from their two regular-season meetings in the first half of this schedule.

Like their first meeting in Brooklyn, the Clippers played the Nets close before falling, 112-108 after they rallied from a 15-point deficit with fewer than nine minutes left to tie the game 108-108 with 28 seconds left.

A tip-in by former longtime Clipper DeAndre Jordan and a pair of free throws from James Harden tipped the game in Brooklyn’s favor for good. The Nets also beat L.A. 124-120 in a closely contested game on Feb. 2.

In the loss, the Clippers (22-10) got a big opening act from Kawhi Leonard (who scored 14 of his 29 points in the first quarter) and a grand finale from Paul George (who scored 12 of his 34 in the final frame), but it wasn’t enough against Brooklyn, who had enough star power of its own, even without Kevin Durant (out with a hamstring strain).

Harden finished with a stout stat line of 37 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and two steals and the purple-shoed Kyrie Irving danced his way to 28 points and added six assists as the Nets won their sixth consecutive game and improved to 20-12.

The Clippers trailed 96-81 with 8:52 to play before George and Ivica Zubac (who scored eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter) took L.A. on a 7-0 run to cut it to six points 96-90.

George shot 12 for 19, and had six rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and six turnovers in 33 minutes. He was playing just his second game back after missing seven with a toe injury and was pulled from the game with 2:50 to play, leaving him able only to applaud his teammates’ resolve from the bench.

They gave him something to cheer for: A 3-pointer from Lou Williams, plus a bucket and four free throws from Leonard tied the game 108-108 with 28 seconds left, before Jordan and Harden closed it out.

“When we’re playing really good teams, they seem to try to exploit your weaknesses,” Clippers Coach Tyronn Lue said pregame, meaning it as a good thing, an opportunity for self discovery. “We want to see how good teams play against you, what they try to do, what they try to go at on their offensive, and what they try to do defensively as well. That always gives you, as a coach, it always gives you information on what you need to work on and get better at.”

The Clippers will work on defending back screens, and they’ll have to take better care of the ball after coughing up 17 turnovers, which translated into 27 Brooklyn points.

Despite 18 first-half Leonard, the Clippers trailed 58-51 at halftime.

They had little luck containing the Nets, whose attack netted 15 first-half buckets at the rim before the break.

Harden applied a hefty amount of the pressure, with for 21 points in 19 first-half minutes, in which he also corralled eight rebounds, made two steals and assisted on four of his teammates’ buckets — becoming the first Net to record those total in a half since Jason Kidd on Feb. 23, 2003.

Leonard was 4 for 6 from 3-point range in the first quarter, but he went just 1 for 3 from the field in the second quarter.

More to come on this story.


Tags: Sports, Los Angeles, Sport, Soccer, Brooklyn, Nba, Jordan, Brooklyn Nets, Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George, George, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Clippers, Kyrie Irving, Harden, Serge Ibaka, Patrick Beverley, Kawhi Leonard, Lou Williams, Leonard, Jason Kidd, Jeff Green, Joe Harris, Tyronn Lue, Mark J Terrill, Bruce Brown, The Clippers, Ivica Zubac, AP Photo Mark J Terrill Los Angeles Clippers, Terance Mann, Leonard The Clippers, Mark J Terrill Brooklyn Nets, AP Photo Mark J Terrill Brooklyn Nets, Clipper DeAndre Jordan

Source:  https://www.dailynews.com/2021/02/21/clippers-cut-it-close-but-lost-to-nets/



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