George, Clippers rally past Spurs for 3rd straight victory
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Paul George scored 33 points and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied to beat the San Antonio Spurs 113-106 on Friday night for their third straight victory.
John Wall had 15 points and six assists for the Clippers, who are 5-4 after losing four of their first six games.
“We did a great job at the end of keeping pace into the game,” Wall said. “When we play with pace, we’re a tough team because we get out, get mismatches. We pass the ball to the right guy; they make the right reads and make plays. Try to make the game simple.”
The Clippers overcame a 10-point deficit in the third quarter, outscoring the Spurs 31-20 in the fourth.
Los Angeles was 5 for 9 on 3-pointers in the fourth and 12 for 19 from the field overall in the period.
“We learned how we’ve got to try to close the game out,” San Antonio guard Devin Vassell said. “Playing together as a team. They were letting the ball find the open man. We’ve got to do that, too.”
Vassell had a career-high 29 points for the Spurs while playing limited minutes following a four-game absence due to a sore left knee. Vassell made his first eight shots, including three 3-pointers, and finished 4 for 5 from long range.
Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard missed his sixth straight game as he rehabilitates from offseason knee surgery.
Vassell and Keldon Johnson returned and helped San Antonio stay competitive after its worst home loss in franchise history, a 143-100 defeat against Toronto.
The Clippers had a 19-2 run in the opening quarter, but the Spurs rallied.
After trailing by 17 points, the Spurs closed the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 58-54 lead, capped by Zach Collins swatting away Norman Powell’s 15-foot driving layup at the buzzer. Collins opened the run with a 15-foot jumper followed by 3-pointers from Vassell and Johnson.
Tre Jones added 18 points for the Spurs and Johnson had 16.
Ivica Zubac had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers.
Clippers: Los Angeles coach Tyronn Lue said Leonard is frustrated but progressing as he recovers from surgery to repair a partial tear in his right ACL on July 13. … F Nicolas Batum suffered a bruise under his left eye after taking an elbow from Vassell on a driving layup. Batum was assessed a foul on the play with 1:18 left in the third quarter, which was upheld upon review. … F Marcus Morris Sr. and Collins were each assessed a technical foul after they had to be separated late in the second quarter. Morris grabbed and yanked Collins around the neck on an attempted layup, but officials had already whistled the play dead because Collins traveled.
Spurs: Vassell’s previous career high was 23 points against Indiana on Oct. 21. … G Romeo Langford missed the game after straining his left toe Wednesday against the Raptors. … F Isaiah Roby missed his third straight game with flulike symptoms.
SIT AND WATCH
Vassell exited the game with 8:52 remaining and the Spurs leading 94-91.
San Antonio limited Vassell’s playing time to 25 minutes after he sat out four straight games with a sore left knee. He said his knee was fine.
“I was itching to get back out there,” Vassell said. “Just to help my team. I’ve been sitting a couple of games. I was sitting there watching long enough, so I wanted to be out there.”
Clippers: Host Utah on Sunday.
Spurs: At Denver on Saturday.
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