The Los Angeles Clippers halted their two-game losing streak with a 113-104 triumph over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday. The game, marked by its intense moments and strategic plays, showcased the Clippers' resilience and adaptability in the absence of key player Kawhi Leonard.
Harden and George Steer the Clippers to Victory
James Harden's performance was a cornerstone of the Clippers' success. Scoring 20 of his 29 points in the first half, Harden set the pace for the game. His contribution, along with Paul George's 25 points and Ivica Zubac's impressive 18 points and 14 rebounds, played a pivotal role in the team's comeback.
Tyronn Lue, the Clippers head coach, acknowledged the game's challenges, "I knew it was going to be a tough game but it was a good bounce-back win for us”. He also praised the team's defensive efforts.
The Hornets' Struggle Continues
On the other side, the Charlotte Hornets continued their unfortunate streak, losing their eighth game in a row.
Despite valiant efforts from Miles Bridges, who scored 21 points with 11 rebounds, and Terry Rozier and P.J. Washington, each adding 18 points, the team could not overturn their fate. Charlotte's December record fell to 1-10, a slump exacerbated by the absence of LaMelo Ball since November 26 due to an ankle injury.
P.J. Washington expressed mixed feelings about the game, “We had a lot of mistakes toward the end of the fourth quarter which led to our loss, obviously, but for the most part, we played a great game”.
A Game of Runs and Momentum Shifts
The game was a rollercoaster of momentum shifts.
The Clippers led by as much as 10 points in the first half, only for the Hornets to close the gap to 55-50 at halftime. A similar pattern emerged in the third quarter, with the Clippers extending the lead, only for the Hornets to surge ahead with a 26-9 run.
Ultimately, it was the Clippers who seized control in the crucial moments. A decisive 19-2 run, highlighted by three key 3-pointers and Zubac's six points, swung the game in their favor. George's 3-pointer with just over a minute left on the clock sealed the deal for the Clippers.
Reflecting on the team's mindset, George stated, “We're next man up, keep the ship going. When (Leonard) comes back, he'll be healthy and we continue to rock. Regardless of who's in, who's out, our job is to continue to keep going”.