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Leonard and Harden combine for 60 points as Clippers top Kings


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 34 points and seven assists, James Harden scored 26 and the Los Angeles Clippers overcame a big game by De’Aaron Fox to beat the Sacramento Kings 131-117 on Wednesday night.

Paul George added 19 points and seven assists for the Clippers, who defeated the Kings for the first time since October 2022.

Fox scored 40 points on 14-of-23 shooting for Sacramento, which was coming off an emotional win over Golden State that advanced the Kings to the knockout round of the In-Season Tournament.

The Clippers were coming off a 113-104 loss Monday to the Nuggets, who played without Nikola Jokic, but were the aggressor against the Kings most of the night.

Leonard shot 14 of 18 from the field, including 2 for 3 on 3-pointers, and Harden was 8 of 14, including 5 of 8 on 3s.

Leonard and Russell Westbrook repeatedly drove the lane and scored down low while keeping Sacramento’s defense off balance.

Westbrook had nine points and eight assists while coming off the bench again for Los Angeles. He also became the third active NBA player to reach 38,000 minutes played. Earlier this week, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career record in that category.

Westbrook scored on an easy layup in the fourth quarter, then did his ‘rock the baby’ celebration, drawing boos from the Golden 1 Center crowd.

The biggest problem for the Kings, however, was on offense.

Sacramento trailed by 25 early in the third quarter and never got closer than 13 points after that.

Sacramento pulled to 113-100 on Malik Monk’s 3-pointer before the Clippers pulled away. Leonard hit a 3 and then made a spinning jumper in the lane to cap a 12-1 run.

Harden got the Clippers going early with four 3-pointers and 17 points in the first quarter, more than he totaled in his previous five games.

The Kings got within 54-47 before Los Angeles closed the half on a big run, taking a 72-50 lead on Leonard’s step-back jumper from the left corner as time expired.

Consecutive dunks from Leonard and Ivaca Zubic early in the third quarter extended the Clippers’ lead to 81-56.

UP NEXT

Clippers: Play the Warriors at Chase Center on Thursday.

Kings: Face the Nuggets in Denver on Saturday. Sacramento last won a road game in that series on Dec. 23, 2020.

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