NBA

We got our guys back – Lue relishes winning return for Leonard and George

By Sports Desk February 20, 2021

Tyronn Lue relished seeing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George return from injury as the Los Angeles Clippers impressively beat the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz had won nine straight games and 20 of their last 21 NBA contests coming into Friday's game.

However, their streak came to an end as the Clippers emerged triumphant 116-112 in a battle between two championship contenders.

Leonard led the way for the home Clippers with 29 points as they improved to 22-9.

Donovan Mitchell had a game-high 35 points, but the Western Conference leading Jazz fell to 24-6.

Leonard had missed the previous three games with a lower leg contusion, while George was back after seven games out with a swollen toe.

The win came two days after the Clippers had lost by 18 to the Jazz playing without Leonard, George and Nicolas Batum.

"They are the best team in the NBA right now, record-wise, we knew that they won 20 of 21 coming into it – we understood that," Lue said after the win. 

"We got our guys back and we wanted to win this game and the guys went out and did a hell of a job.

"Our defense was pretty good until the heroics of Donovan Mitchell down the stretch.

"Pat Beverley and PG, we did a decent job on that first half and second half, he [Mitchell] got going, that's what great players do. 

"Overall, defensively, I thought we were pretty good like I said until the last 40 seconds or whatever it was of the game."

George had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes.

"I wasn't ready to play 30-plus," he said. "Got to get back to that basketball conditioning.

"I probably would have hurt the team if I'd been on the floor past the minutes I was."

The Jazz were outrebounded 45-38, leaving Mitchell and Rudy Gobert clear where the game was lost.

"We lost the game on the boards," said Mitchell. "It was second-chance points that really hurt us. 

"If you look at the overall game, we played solid defense throughout, but they just came out there and got the extra boards and rebounds and we just got to do a better job of that.

"This is a bump in the road and a good one."

Gobert feels the loss will ultimately benefit the Jazz.

He said: "If we get those rebounds, we win this game. [The Clippers are] a very good team.

"They came out rested, they came out ready and it felt like a playoff game – the intensity, the tough shots that they were making all night. 

"It was a good opportunity for us to just keep getting better."

Related items

  • Kerr delighted with Thompson progress after 'best stretch yet' Kerr delighted with Thompson progress after 'best stretch yet'

    Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr says Klay Thompson's progress on his return from long-term injury is "right on schedule" after top scoring in Tuesday's win over the Detroit Pistons.

    Thompson, who endured a 941-day layoff due to Achilles and ACL injuries before returning earlier this month, scored 17 points in the first half before finishing with 21 in his fourth game back.

    The 31-year-old three-time NBA champion impressed alongside Stephen Curry (18 points and eight assists) in a sizzling 66-38 first-half in Tuesday's 102-86 win, with Kerr describing it as their "best stretch together" since his return.

    "That was probably he best stretch that Steph and Klay have played together," Kerr told reporters. "It was a nice groove in front of our home fans."

    Kerr added: "It's good to see him get hot and hear the crowd behind him. He got into a little rhythm. We had a great first half, 20 assists, the ball was moving, Klay was a big part of that."

    The former Chicago Bulls guard said that he felt there were signs that Thompson was physically getting close to his best, having played on managed minutes since his return.

    "I just think it's rhythm and legs," he said. "When you've been out for a while, the legs are the toughest thing to recover in terms of the force going into the shot and feeling powerful and strong like you do when you're in great shape.

    "He's getting his legs underneath him. He's looking better and better. His conditioning has improved. He's right on schedule."

    Kerr also brushed aside any concerns about Curry, who sat out the last quarter and appeared inhibited by the hand injury which kept him out of Sunday's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    "I don’t even know. I saw him shaking his hand," Kerr said. "I haven’t heard anything about it so I assume he's fine.

    "We had the lead so we didn’t need to put him back in."

  • Kerr delighted with Thompson return after 'best stretch yet' Kerr delighted with Thompson return after 'best stretch yet'

    Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr says Klay Thompson's progress on his return from long-term injury is "right on schedule" after top scoring in Tuesday's win over the Detroit Pistons.

    Thompson, who endured a 941-day layoff due to Achilles and ACL injuries before returning earlier this month, scored 17 points in the first half before finishing with 21 in his fourth game back.

    The 31-year-old three-time NBA champion impressed alongside Stephen Curry (18 points and eight assists) in a sizzling 66-38 first-half in Tuesday's 102-86 win, with Kerr describing it as their "best stretch together" since his return.

    "That was probably he best stretch that Steph and Klay have played together," Kerr told reporters. "It was a nice groove in front of our home fans."

    Kerr added: "It's good to see him get hot and hear the crowd behind him. He got into a little rhythm. We had a great first half, 20 assists, the ball was moving, Klay was a big part of that."

    The former Chicago Bulls guard said that he felt there were signs that Thompson was physically getting close to his best, having played on managed minutes since his return.

    "I just think it's rhythm and legs," he said. "When you've been out for a while, the legs are the toughest thing to recover in terms of the force going into the shot and feeling powerful and strong like you do when you're in great shape.

    "He's getting his legs underneath him. He's looking better and better. His conditioning has improved. He's right on schedule."

    Kerr also brushed aside any concerns about Curry, who sat out the last quarter and appeared inhibited by the hand injury which kept him out of Sunday's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    "I don’t even know. I saw him shaking his hand," Kerr said. "I haven’t heard anything about it so I assume he's fine.

    "We had the lead so we didn’t need to put him back in."

  • Thompson top scores as Warriors beat Pistons, Towns shines in Timberwolves road win Thompson top scores as Warriors beat Pistons, Towns shines in Timberwolves road win

    Stephen Curry returned from a hand injury with 18 points as the Golden State Warriors eased past the struggling Detroit Pistons 102-86 on Tuesday.

    The Warriors led 66-38 at half-time with Klay Thompson continuing the progress in his return from long-term injury by top scoring with a season-high 21 points. Thompson had 17 points by half-time.

    Thompson was playing his fourth game back after returning earlier this month following a 941-day layoff due to Achilles and ACL injuries.

    Curry had four three-pointers among his 18 points along with three rebounds and eight assists, while top 10 pick Jonathan Kuminga started and had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

    The Warriors had lost 119-99 to the Minnesota Timberwolves without Curry on Sunday but improve to 32-12 to be second in the west behind the Phoenix Suns (34-9).

     

    TOWNS LEADS ROAD WIN

    Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 112-110 road win over the New York Knicks.

    Towns had 20 points with five rebounds and three assists, while 2020 NBA Draft first pick Anthony Edwards had 21 points, three rebounds and three assists.

    The Timberwolves center made a clutch two-pointer to put his side up 110-109 with 29.3 seconds left.

    Minnesota won with a 26-19 final quarter, despite Julius Randle's (21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists) big second half for the Knicks with Evan Fournier (27 points, four rebounds and four assists) contributing well.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.