NBA: James Harden, Clippers blitz past Wizards

NBA: James Harden, Clippers blitz past Wizards

/ 02:45 PM March 02, 2024

James Harden Clippers NBA

Los Angeles Clippers guard James Harden gestures during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, March 1, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

LOS ANGELES — James Harden scored 21 of his 28 points in the second quarter and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Washington Wizards 140-115 on Friday night in the NBA.

Kawhi Leonard added 27 points and Paul George scored 22 in his return after missing two games because of a knee injury. The Clippers lost guard Russell Westbrook in the first half after he fractured his left hand.

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Westbrook, who had six points and one assist in 10 minutes off the bench, appeared to sustain the injury trying to poke the ball away from Jordan Poole with 10:01 left in the second. Westbrook left with 8:10 remaining in the second quarter and did not return.

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Kyle Kuzma had 32 points, but the Wizards lost their 14th straight game. Poole had 16 and Deni Avdija chipped in with 14 on the second night of a back-to-back after falling to the Lakers in overtime on Thursday.

Playing their first game since blowing a 19-point fourth quarter lead against the Lakers on Wednesday, the Clippers took out their frustrations on the reeling Wizards.

Harden led the charge in the second quarter by shooting 7 for 9, including knocking down four straight 3-pointers with a long distance heat check for emphasis. He tied his career-high for points in a period, matching his fourth quarter at Indiana on Dec. 18. Harden helped the Clippers go up by as many as 19 before taking a 79-64 lead at halftime.

George, who missed home losses to Sacramento and the Lakers, showed no ill effects as he scored 11 points in the first quarter. He had 17 at the half.

Kuzma tried his best to keep Washington in it with a blistering 26 points in the first half. He was 10 for 14 shooting, going 5 for 7 from 3, but didn’t get much help from teammates, especially from long range.

NEXT SCHEDULE

Wizards: At Utah on Monday.

Clippers: At Minnesota on Sunday.

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TAGS: James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA

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