PREVIEW: Streaking Washington Wizards face Clippers, aiming for L.A. sweep

Feb 22, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) shoots against Los Angeles Lakers center Marc Gasol (14) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said his club got away from attacking the Brooklyn Nets in a disappointing 112-108 loss Sunday in a matchup of NBA contenders.

The Clippers will try to solve that problem Tuesday when they host the Washington Wizards, who are coming off a 127-124 overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

The Nets finished with a 60-38 edge on the Clippers in points in the paint.

“We settled for a lot of jump shots,” Lue said. “We didn’t get to the paint to make the next play or make the next pass for the other guy. And that hurt us, it made us stagnant. A lot of times they gave us the matchup that we wanted. … We just weren’t able to capitalize on it.”

Read More: RECAP: Nets topple Clippers to end perfect West Coast trip

Former Clippers center DeAndre Jordan tipped in a miss by Kyrie Irving for a 110-108 Brooklyn lead with 11 seconds remaining.

The Clippers had a chance to tie the score, but Kawhi Leonard, who had 29 points with five 3-pointers and 13 rebounds, was whistled for an offensive foul with 8.1 seconds left when he appeared to nudge James Harden on a drive to the basket. Two free throws by Harden clinched Brooklyn’s sixth straight victory and handed Los Angeles its second setback in seven games.

The Clippers also were unable to capitalize on the solid play of Paul George when it mattered most. George, who finished with a team-high 34 points, 12 of those in the fourth quarter, sat out the final 2:50.

Lue said George, who was playing his second game after missing seven with a toe injury, was still on a minutes restriction.

The Wizards extended their winning streak to five games by outplaying the Lakers in OT on Monday. It’s Washington’s longest streak in three years, and the Wizards prevailed in overtime for the first time since they beat the Phoenix Suns in triple OT on Dec. 22, 2018.

Read More: RECAP: Washington Wizards take down Lakers in OT for 5th straight win

Bradley Beal had 33 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals and Russell Westbrook added 32 points, 14 boards and nine assists for the Wizards, who rallied from a 17-point, third-quarter deficit to prevail.

Beal missed an attempt at a game-winning jumper at the end of regulation but converted a floater with 42.4 seconds remaining in overtime that put Washington up by four.

Rui Hachimura had 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting for the Wizards while Robin Lopez scored 13.

“It’s all about our defense and our effort and everybody just being on the same page accepting the challenge,” Beal told NBC Sports Washington. “We know who they are, they’re the defending champions. We respect that, but we’ve been playing really good basketball the last couple of games. It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side.”

The Wizards outscored the Lakers 78-61 in the second half and overtime. They trailed 70-53 early in the third before outscoring the Lakers 27-16 for the rest of the quarter to slice the margin to six entering the fourth quarter.

In overtime, Westbrook’s bucket with 3:27 left gave Washington the lead for good.

“We were terrible in the first half,” Beal said. “We did a lot better job in the second half of coming out and giving … energy, getting stops, limiting their second-chance points and executing on the offensive end.”

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–Field Level Media