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Clippers out to maintain momentum in clash with Spurs

Sportsnaut
Nov 2, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) reacts after a basket by forward Marcus Morris Sr. (not pictured) during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers will look to build on the momentum forged in back-to-back wins when they square off against the up-and-down San Antonio Spurs in the final game of a two-game road trip on Friday.

The Clippers head to the Alamo City after a 109-101 win in Houston on Wednesday that evened their season record at 4-4. Paul George led the way with 28 points and key baskets down the stretch and Marcus Morris Sr. added 21 points (18 of them in the first half) and 10 rebounds in the victory, Los Angeles’ second straight (both over Houston) after four consecutive losses.

Moses Brown added 13 points off the bench for the Clippers while Reggie Jackson hit for 12 in the victory.

“It was a good win for us,” Los Angeles coach Tyronn Lue said afterward. “We have made a good emphasis on attacking. If we keep playing that way, we can get better.”

Los Angeles played without Kawhi Leonard, who missed his fifth straight game as he deals with ongoing stiffness in his right knee that was surgically repaired before last season. Leonard did not make the road trip with the Clippers and will not play in San Antonio on Friday.

“The stiffness and what he’s going through, just frustrated putting in all the work the last 15 months,” Lue said about Leonard. “To get to this point, and not being where he wants to be right now physically (is frustrating). He’s getting better, and that’s the most important thing.”

It’s been either feast or famine for San Antonio over its first eight games. The Spurs have been able to win five times but have also been blown out twice at home as they try to figure out a rotation and deal with early season injuries.

The Spurs look to rebound after a 143-100 defeat at home to Toronto on Wednesday. It was San Antonio’s worst home loss in team history and the most lopsided defeat in the 27-year tenure in San Antonio for coach Gregg Popovich.

San Antonio played at a disadvantage as starters Keldon Johnson (sore right calf) and Devin Vassell (left knee) were out with injuries. For Vassell, it was his fourth straight missed game, but he is expected to return for Friday’s contest.

The Spurs were also without reserves Isaiah Roby (flu) and Blake Wesley (knee). Rookie forward Jeremy Sochan left early in the second quarter due to restricted minutes after a one-game absence with flu-like symptoms.

That left role players to take the lead. Keita Bates-Diop had 17 points and four rebounds to pace San Antonio while Malakai Branham added 13 points off the bench and Josh Richardson hit for 10 points

“Toronto is strong and long and very athletic and very well coached, and we aren’t quite ready for that,” Popovich said afterward. “Minutes are the best thing for young guys so they can see what they are doing well. (Our guys) tried hard but they were up against something that was a little bit different for them.”

–Field Level Media