Paul George came through in the clutch for the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, but fourth-quarter heroics couldn’t save the Dallas Mavericks in a 126-120 NBA loss to Oklahoma City.
George scored a game-high 25 points and drilled the game-winning three-pointer over Klay Thompson as the Clippers rallied from a 22-point third-quarter deficit to stun the Golden State Warriors 113-112.
“It felt good as soon as I released it,” George said of the basket that put the Clippers ahead for the first time in the contest. “I got a good look at the basket, thank God it went in.”
The Warriors had a final chance, but Draymond Green missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
George said the comeback was especially meaningful against the Warriors’ potent offense.
“They can put points up so quick,” he said. “The fact we were able to come back, it just shows a lot — this group is ready to fight and play all the way until the end.”
James Harden added 21 points and Kawhi Leonard chipped in 20 for the Clippers, who withstood 17 three-pointers from the Warriors.
Stephen Curry scored 22 points and handed out 11 assists for Golden State.
In the day’s second game at Crypto.com Arena, Anthony Davis scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 107-97 victory over the Houston Rockets.
LeBron James, who celebrates his 39th birthday this month, added 16 points, including a spectacular 360-degree aerial spin for a layup.
In Dallas, a remarkable 30-0 fourth-quarter scoring run and new dad Luka Doncic’s triple-double of 36 points, 15 rebounds and 18 assists weren’t enough for the Mavericks.
Doncic returned after missing a game to welcome the birth of his baby daughter, but Kyrie Irving was sidelined with a sore foot and Tim Hardaway Jr. was out with back spasms.
Jalen Williams scored 23 points to lead eight Thunder players in double figures.
The Mavs, trailing 111-87 early in the fourth, scored 30 unanswered points — the longest such streak since the NBA began tracking play-by-play data in 1996.
They seized a 117-111 lead but couldn’t make it last.
“That’s just the way the game is,” said Mavs center Dereck Lively, who scored 20 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. “Basketball is a game of runs. We were fortunate enough to be able to fight back, bring it back to a close game, but we’ve got to be sure we practice more on trying to close out the end-game situations.”
Denver star Nikola Jokic’s triple-double of 36 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists also came in a losing effort as the Nuggets fell 123-117 to the Sacramento Kings, who had 26 points from both De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s first triple-double of the season — 32 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists — helped the Milwaukee Bucks finally see off the Atlanta Hawks 132-121 in a game that featured 17 lead changes.
Damian Lillard added 25 points and nine assists for the Bucks, who were tied 114-114 with less than six minutes remaining but out-scored the Hawks 18-7 the rest of the way.
Magic streak ends
In Brooklyn, Mikal Bridges scored 42 points to pace the Nets, who halted the Orlando Magic’s winning streak at nine games with a 129-101 victory.
Bridges singlehandedly out-scored the Magic in the first quarter, pouring in 26 points as the Nets roared to a 43-22 lead that put them on the road to victory.
In Detroit, the Cleveland Cavaliers handed the Pistons a 17th straight defeat, 110-101.
Max Strus and Darius Garland scored 22 points apiece for Cleveland. Donovan Mitchell added 20 and Jarrett Allen chipped in 19 with 11 rebounds to keep the Pistons at bay.
Detroit opened the third quarter on a 10-0 scoring run to grab a 58-54 lead. They led by as many as eight before the Cavs hit back.
The Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off a nail-biting 123-117 victory over the Hornets in Charlotte.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 28 points. Rudy Gobert added 26 points and 12 rebounds.
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